Presentation on theme: "The troubles of life impact our sense of purpose.."— Presentation transcript:
The troubles of life impact our sense of purpose.
The problem of finite understanding, and how to know the things that are important, The problem of suffering in this world, and finding meaning in personal sorrow.
The problem of death and the uncertainties that go with not seeing past the grave, The problem of personal fault, and what that means for the present and for the future.
Dr. Francis Schaeffer pointed out that only three possibilities exist for the Ultimate Beginning. Either the Ultimate Beginning was complete-and-total nothingness. Or the Ultimate Beginning was Impersonal. Or the Ultimate Beginning was Personal. That covers all the bases. Each possibility holds implications for us.
We can see that if the Ultimate Beginning was an impersonal beginning, our finite nature is very small indeed, and our lives are ultimately meaningless. It is difficult to know anything with certainty. Suffering in this case is also meaningless – even though we know pain is important. In this case, death is all there is.
If the origin was a Personal beginning, we have the hope for meaning wrapped up in the purpose of God for our lives. We can know things with certainty because God is trustworthy and cares to communicate with us through His Word. We can find meaning in suffering, if God gives it meaning. And we have help for personal fault.
The downside for the impersonal beginning is that it makes life absurd, or meaningless. The downside for the Personal Beginning is that we are accountable to God for our faults, and we are responsible to search for truth about Him.
We are not just awash at sea as far as trying to know which option is correct. God has given us evidence Within our hearts and In the Bible In history In archaeology In sociology In the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If we think carefully about these issues, We can see that the Bible explains how God can be totally Good in conjunction with the fallen world we live in, and yet allow us to make real choices and justly hold us accountable for the ones we make.
“To declare that the LORD is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Genesis 1-3 explains that God created us good, even very good, and gave us real choice. By choosing the opposite of His good commands, people became the fallen and fallible beings we are today.
Humanly speaking, justice and mercy are incompatible. People can be just, but at the expense of mercy. Or people can be merciful at the expense of justice.
If God is Completely Good, He is both just and merciful, without being “one at the expense of the other.” God could not be “relatively good” without being “relatively bad.”
We can see that extremely evil people deserve punishment after death, especially when they seem to get away with evil in this life. Absolute justice cannot be “more good” than God, so this implies that God must justly punish evil.
The impersonal beginning option does not allow for ultimate justice or mercy— it makes even justice and mercy temporary or capricious or meaningless. Yet our souls cry out over these matters when we see suffering in this world. We know that deliberate evil deserves justice.
The thing that is more painful to realize is that even relatively good people deserve punishment for their faults, in terms of perfect justice. God cannot be “relatively lenient” with generally good people, and absolutely just with evil-doers. There is no partiality with God— Deuteronomy 10:17, Acts 10:34-35.
Ecclesiastes is the book that tells us the limits of human thinking without God’s communication. Ecclesiastes 2:10-22 does a very human thing when it talks about these things. It says that eternity is in our hearts, yet nobody is perfect, and God will judge us all. So we look at the world and see that everybody dies, just like animals. IF that’s all there is, everything is futility. The discomfort of thinking about absolute justice makes us focus on only what we can see.
How can God be both completely just and completely merciful? Only the Biblical answer is enough to satisfy all the issues: Because God Himself made the infinite atonement that satisfies the requirements of justice, He can remain just when He extends mercy.
God with us—Immanuel– is infinite. His death was enough to pay the price of Justice for each of us at one time, Once For All. The Trinity and the crucifixion are intricately intertwined to meet the requirements of justice. It was not suicide, which would be wrong. It was an unjust execution that embodied all the evil of power directed against the helpless, yet Jesus was willing to endure it for our sakes. It was not a matter of God’s requiring someone who was innocent to suffer for other people, but was Himself, our righteous Judge, taking the punishment for us.
In fact, we can sit in church for many years without ever hearing the explanation, because many people believe without ever putting the puzzle together.
Open up the moral freedom to offer mercy without constraining justice. Romans 3:23-26 calls God “just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus,” because of the payment for our sins Jesus made for us.
Is it possible for God to give mercy to someone who has never repented, and still be just? A refusal to repent implies an intention to repeat the fault. Extending mercy without repentance is to be unjust to the innocent bystanders.
God’s mercy is available through the cross of Jesus. God’s mercy is accessed through the door of repentance.
Real mercy, accessed through the door of repentance, ◦ Brings the opportunity to have the Holy Spirit come into one’s life. The power of the Holy Spirit within a life brings transformation. ◦ The Holy Spirit will come into the repentant heart if He is invited.
Without the Holy Spirit we have difficulty demonstrating all these good things even in the good times. With the Holy Spirit in our lives, He can create these good things within us even in the bad times. When He does, we have proof of His presence and a demonstration to others that He is REAL.
When we think of our lives and our faults, we usually think of things we have done that we are ashamed of, but repentance is more than regretting those things. The first and greatest commandment is to LOVE the LORD our God with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds and all our strength. He is worthy of our love because He is totally GOOD. ◦ We have to repent of breaking that commandment.
We will allow Him to be King of our lives. We will search for His goodness. We will honor His righteous demands. We will try to be in tune with His purpose.
That means that we will confess things to Him as sin whenever we catch ourselves involved in them, Including things like despair or unbelief. And we will ask for His help to overcome them. We will ask for His perspective on the issues of our lives.
We will seek His presence daily in His word. People know we love them if we spend time with them. God knows we love Him if we spend time with Him, trying to understand His perspective.
There is a time of initial commitment where a specific kind of prayer opens the gate and begins the journey. It is a prayer of repentance and acceptance. The repentance part lists the sins to God that are heaviest on the conscience, and ALSO tells God you are sorry for trying to run your own life apart from Him. If you feel like your life is in pieces, ask God to pick up the pieces and re-make it into the best life He has in mind.
Next you must accept the payment Jesus Christ made for you at the cross, and thank God for that and for the power of eternal life He made available through the resurrection. Next you need to ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life to be in charge and to make you into the person He wants you to be.
Jesus promised that God the Father will answer “yes” to any prayer ◦ That is in accordance with His will. He died to show you that this IS His will for you, so of course He answers “yes” to this kind of prayer. So of course you want to thank Him.
We have a free CD-ROM with a study course called TOOLKIT FOR BUILDING FAITH#1, ULTIMATE ISSUES. It has a set of power point presentations on a weekly schedule, and a workbook/curriculum guide that coordinates with those presentations. It takes 13 weeks to complete. It uses two books as textbooks, available by order from a local bookstore or at CHRISTIANBOOK.COM.
If you would like a free copy of the CD-ROM for your own personal study, send a 6” X 9” LARGE self-addressed stamped envelope (3 ounces postage) to Mrs. Wilson, P. O. Box 1293, Bastrop, Texas 78602. Please specify Toolkit #1. If you would like to participate in a class, please call the church for times and locations.
Mrs. Wilson P. O. Box 1293 Bastrop, Texas 78602 512-303-3221 Church Office Mrs. Wilson is doing an internship with the Certified Apologetics Instructor program of the North American Mission Board. She is available to speak to groups or other churches upon request at 512-303-3653.