Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Makes the Difference Between Empty Life vs. Purposeful Life?

One member at my message board continually questions why God the Father allowed Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. While responding to a former blogpost which I also posted at my message board, he questioned this eternal act for our salvation, once again.

No matter how many times I have answered him, complete with Scripture verses, scholarly commentary from the great apologists, and explanations from my own Bible studies, he brings up that same question again and again.

If you are a Christian, have you ever experienced discussion on this same topic with a person who, no matter what you say, will never be satisfied with the answers? If you have ever witnessed to someone or attempted any form of evangelism with the public, then I'm sure you're answer is "yes."

Why is that?

A Christian radio broadcaster once stated the exact reason for such attitudes by skeptics in an email that I received several years ago:

(2 Thessalonians 3:2, John 12:48, 2 Corinthians 4:4, John 3:11, John 8:24)

Why the lost are so angry at Christians. In the course of your day to day life, as you have opportunities to share Christ with people you meet, know up front that many who are not Christians will get angry with you for even mentioning the name of Jesus Christ. This anger stems from the fact that those who are lost, deep, deep, down, know that something is missing in their life.

When God created Adam, He created Adam in perfection and with a spiritual connection to God. One of the byproducts of Adam's sin was that spiritual connection with God was broken. There was now a gulf between man and God due to man's sin. Since each person is born with sin, they are born with a void in their life that only being reconnected to God can fill.

This is why people get involved with drugs, with alcohol, with gambling, with sex, or become addicted to work and success. This is why so many people get lost in cults and the false religions of this world. There is a void in a person's life that subconsciously they know is there and are trying to fill. I want to tell you today that this void can ONLY be filled by reconnecting to God. The Good News today is that God loves us so much, He sent Jesus to die for OUR sins so that by putting our faith in Him, we could be reconnected with God and that void in our life would be filled.

That is why a Christian can know joy, despite the pain life has to offer. That is why a Christian can know peace, even in the midst of the fiercest trials. That is why a Christian can enjoy the abundance of this life, even when there is no abundance by this world's standards. The joy, the peace, the abundance of this life comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and being reconnected with God our Creator.

THAT is why the lost are so angry at Christians. They have rejected God's free gift of everlasting life through Jesus Christ and look to the things of this world to try and fill the void only God can fill. From time to time, they must justify in their own mind their rejection of Christ. The way they normally do this is by attacking the Bible, since it is God's Word that condemns them.

They always ask about who Cain married (one of his sisters, it was when God gave the law to Moses that incest was forbidden), they always ask about the dinosaurs (they were created with the animals and became extinct during the flood of Noah), how people could live to be 900 years old (man was originally created to live forever, and as the generations went on the age of man decreased), and numerous other questions that in many cases only God can answer. They also point out what may appear to be contradictions in the Bible. Let me assure you, there are NO, ZERO, NADA contradictions in the Bible.

All of this is done to try and minimize and discredit the Bible from being God's inspired, inerrant Word, representing absolute truth, and our final authority in all matters. Again, it is God's Word that condemns them for their rebellion, so of course it is God's Word they attack. My advice is to visit a local Christian bookstore and you will find many books that explain in depth why the Bible really is the Word of God and perfect in every way.

I love you and care about you so much. I realize the anger of the lost keeps many people from sharing their faith. Never forget, they are angry at God, NOT you. Your job is simply to tell them the truth, and share with them the hope and love of Christ. What they choose to do with that truth is then between them and God.

Also, don't be intimidated by their questions. If you know the answer, tell them, if you don't, tell them you don't. SOMEONE THAT IS LOST AND SIMPLY TRYING TO JUSTIFY THEIR REJECTION OF CHRIST WILL ALWAYS HAVE MORE QUESTIONS THAN YOU WILL EVER HAVE ANSWERS. I have never in over 11 years, having dealt with tens of thousands of people, EVER had a person asking a string of questions say, "OK, I am glad you answered that for me, now I will believe."

You will never win a debate with someone that is lost since they have no desire to accept what you are saying. Your time is best spent praying for these people rather than debating them.

Many people you meet however, will be honestly open to looking into having a relationship with Christ. Trust me, you will know who these people are. Do your best to answer their questions, and don't hesitate to get others involved in helping you out. But, never forget that how you live your life and what Christ has done in your life will always be your most effective and powerful witness to others.

I will be praying for you today. God has given us a commandment, not a suggestion to share our faith in Christ with this hurting and lost world. We have the only answer there is. The void in the lives of people that has been created by sin can only be filled by accepting Jesus Christ which reconnects a person to God their Creator. Those who choose to reject Christ are angry because they have a hole in their life only HE can fill.

(bold mine)

That one paragraph (in bold) gives us the exact reason why a lost person will never be satisfied with any answer(s) that a believer gives him/her.

However, I want to go a bit further here, today.

As I awake each morning, I often find myself praying to God for answers to questions that people have directed towards me during the previous day. It is, in fact, that God almost ALWAYS comes through with providing an answer. Whether it is through drawing back to my mind a verse in Scripture, leading me to a Christian apologetics-type book that I have read (or am currently reading), finding an email from a fellow Christian believer in my email box, or, like what happened just this morning, seeing a perfect answer in the sermon that I recently listened to; the Lord God comes through loud and clear!!

During my prayer time, I asked God, "why doesn't this man 'get it' Lord? The answer that I got shocked me. It was, "because he is not one of the elect." Then there was a slight pause (as I was saddened and felt so sorry to hear that) as the Lord continued, "yet."

If we take what the Holy Spirit brought to my mind together, it goes something like this, "because he is not one of the elect...yet."

What does this tell me? What does this tell all of us? That we never know who will become one of the "elect" in our lives. That is why we need to continue sharing the hope of the gospel with the lost.

We share...God saves.

It is not up to us to decide who "will be called" by God. All we are supposed to do is "go into all the world" and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is comforting to me. It takes the burden off of all of us to know this. I have known this concept for quite some time, but occasionally I need reassurance that my efforts are not folly.

Remember those two verses in the Bible that say the opposite things about "folly" and "answering a fool"?

Pro 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Pro 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

It's interesting to note which verse comes's the "answer not a fool according to his folly..."


The verse continues, "lest thou also be like unto him."

I think that those last seven words give us the context of that verse. It can be easy to get into a "fight" with a person who follows "folly" in his/her life and if we involve ourselves in such a fight through our own strength (will), human knowledge (mind), human emotions (soul), and/or human fleshly desires (sinful practices rather than God's will for our lives), then we are not using the proper tools that God has given us to use in our spiritual battles.

This is in keeping with God's two greatest commandments:

Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.

Luk 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Notice in Luke's verse that loving God using all of the bolded nouns above comes first!

When we do that, it is THEN that we can properly "love thy neighbor as thyself."

This makes the message crystal clear to me!! The ones who place "loving thy neighbor" FIRST without loving God with all of their heart, soul, strength and mind, can, unfortunately, do so in ways against God's Laws and will for our lives!!

Back to the Proverbs verses. The second one tells us:

Pro 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

What does this verse tell us? It tells us to answer the folly of others as best we can, so that he/she will not be left "wise in his own conceit."

How do we do that?

By utilizing and sharing God's Word!!

Think about this. If we, as Christians, answer a fool without the wisdom and knowledge of God's Word, then we could only resort to using our own "conceit," so to speak, to answer the folly of the other person!

This is why Jesus used Scripture when answering Satan, the accuser, who obviously wanted Jesus to abandon his mission of salvation of the world through the cross. Jesus "answered that Fool (Satan) according to his folly (trying to be his own god) and therefore crushed the enemy of our souls (and satan's own conceit) as well as accomplishing the task of reconciliation of sinful man to holy God by exposing him (satan) to be the doomed fallen angel that his is!

O.K. This has all been a "backdrop" to the real message of this post. However, I want to include what the Christ doubting, God-rejecting member wrote at my message board:

Is this a legal case, or a moral one?

["Quote" posts originally posted by admin (Christine) with one quote post originally written by Jaded]

The Old Testament prophecies predicted that the Messiah would be crucified despite being innocent of the charges.

Well, isn't that what I'd said, all those months ago? Your religion is based on an unavenged murder...not necessarily a sacrifice.

Although this group may mean well in their courtroom efforts to claim Jesus' crucifixion illegal, they are stepping on God's Law and the Prophets by doing so. Also, they are dangerously "messing" with God's will, judgment, holiness and righteousness. It is as though they are claiming that God "made a mistake" to let Jesus be crucified for the sins of the world.

Well, I claim only that things happened as they did because that's exactly what God wanted to happen (that "perfect will" you've spoken of)...and what sort of mercy can one expect from a God who crucified his own son?

The groups' actions may not seem to appear (at first) to be a kind of heresy that leads to apostasy, but in light of #2 above, we can see that it could be deemed a very deceptive way to carry that out!

Maybe they're just calling for justice to be done, however late; justice that the god seems incapable of delivering. It took the RCC something like 350 years to declare Galileo innocent (although no crime was committed), but even they now admit they treated him unjustly.

All the stories say that Jesus was guilty of no crime, and said nothing in his defense; there were no advocates to speak on his behalf; Pilate himself could 'find no fault with this man'...but the Sanhedrin wanted blood, and they got it. Would you prefer an innocent person's name to remain tarnished forever? Well, yes, I guess you would...

The fact is, all of mankind put Jesus on that cross at Calvary because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Jesus himself proclaimed that he could have called legions of angels down to "rescue" him from his death at the cross. But if he did, then he would have returned to heaven, alone, and we would not have the Savior as our Mediator between Righteous and Holy God and us, as sinful men and women.

Oh, Jesus couldn't possibly have found some other way! His Father also wanted blood--his--and who could defy the will of the Father?

They don't proselytize? Isn't that a secular humanistic term that makes evangelism appear to be a bad thing?

No, it isn't. Look it up.

Jaded said... Well, since God intended for it to happen all along, as stated in the OT, then how can it be deemed "illegal?" Whether they intend to or not, they are saying that God did the wrong thing, 'cause He wanted Jesus to be crucified.

If God wanted Jesus to be crucified, then of course it can't be illegal...but it does kinda go against the things he supposedly taught us.

All this is happening in Kenya, a place that never heard of Christianity until less than two hundred years ago. I can't help but wonder when the Kenyan evangelicals will take up arms against the American ones for not following their interpretation of the gospel! They looked at the Cross too, and see it as an instrument of murder. The salvation part came from the person on it, not the instrument itself.
Don't worry: the suit will go nowhere.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration--courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth." --H L Mencken
Well...HL Mencken's quote is predictable, especially when we read it in light of this Scripture verse:

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

This morning, I watched and listened to Dr. David Jeremiah's sermon entitled:

What On Earth Am I Here For?

Please click on that link and listen to the broadcast!! It is one of the best that I have heard in a long, long time. Be patient, though! Near the end of the broadcast, you will see the enormous difference that Jesus Christ makes in determining an empty life vs. a purposeful life!!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments!


P.S. As an afterthought, I wanted to include a quote I found about the terms "Talk Wisdom."

Talk wisdom to the stupid, and they will think you foolish.
– Euripides

That is not the reason why I named this blog "Talkwisdom." However, ole' Euripides may have a good point.

One blogger mentioned that he thought I named this blog "Talkwisdom" in order to counter the "Talk Origins" site. Well...that wasn't the real reason, either, although many people have made science their "god" and have erected a "Tower of Babel" of their own by doing so.

I mainly named this blog "Talkwisdom" (btw, apparently "Talk Wisdom" had already been utilized by someone else) because I believe that true wisdom is found in the pages of God's Word, the Bible. All else pales in comparison.

That is why I have made it my goal to share God's Wisdom, through the Person of Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible, here at this blog while each of us "talk" and carry on conversations regarding what is happening in our world today. As stated in my blog description:

This blog is dedicated to defending the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We need Christian Culture Warriors who are willing to share our worldview and stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.


Mark said...

I asked God, "why doesn't this man 'get it' Lord? The answer that I got shocked me. It was, "because he is not one of the elect." Then there was a slight pause (as I was saddened and felt so sorry to hear that) as the Lord continued, "yet."

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Ephesians 2:3

Your right, not saved yet. :)

Grund said...

"No matter how many times I have answered him, complete with Scripture verses, scholarly commentary from the great apologists, and explanations from my own Bible studies, he brings up that same question again and again."

There are alot of verses that address this but... it's like having kids, I never realised how much I could love someone until I had children, if you don't have kids, you don't understand, simple as that. You can talk about love, you can think about it... but until you experience it, you don't understand.