Presentation on theme: "WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM? ‘Why should I respect a capricious, mean minded stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?"— Presentation transcript:
WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM? ‘Why should I respect a capricious, mean minded stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?
WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM? Here’s what some of the respondents had to say: ‘I don’t believe in the God that Stephen Fry doesn’t believe in either’ Giles Fraser, The Guardian ‘To blame God for childhood cancer is like blaming the landlord after tenants have trashed their house’ Krish Kandiah, Christian Today ‘Who gets angry about an imaginary conversation?’ Timothy Stanley, The Telegraph ‘I’d rather like to hope that if Stephen Fry actually met God, he’d wait for the reply’ Rowan Williams, Newsnight
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM? 1. Peter Berger, who is a famous sociologist, says every culture in history has provided its members with “an explanation of human events that bestows meaning upon the experiences of suffering and evil.” 2. Western culture, our society, doesn’t give us a coherent way to understand and face and respond to suffering. We are so focused on the material world, our bodies and our pleasures that we can’t see beyond those things. 3. Only Christianity basically says, God is able to work within the bad to bring out the good “This is the way you enter glory and greatness, and here is how you can defeat it.” So Christianity has always been very good at helping people understand and respond to suffering.
WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM? 1. What Stephen said Yet the only possible source of this incredible speech is if Paul remembered it. It must have sunk deep into his heart, and the reason we know he must’ve remembered it is because many people have pointed out all the themes of Stephen’s speech are basically the themes of Paul’s theology, developed with incredible power in all of his writings, which essentially changed the history of the world
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM? 2. What Stephen saw. What did he say? 7 v 56 ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ ”Paul wrote in Romans 8 v 34 ‘ Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us 1 John 2:1: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole1 John 2:1
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM? Well Stephen knows, because Stephen sees the righteous Father looking at him and Jesus standing. Here’s what Jesus is saying. “Father, my people have sinned. That’s right. It needs to be punished, but I have been punished. I’ve paid for it. Therefore, they must never be condemned. There must never be any condemnation for those who are in me.” Paul writes in Romans 8 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM? Paul says in Romans 8 ‘ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Only if the thing you love most, only if the thing that is your real meaning in life, is something that can never be taken away from you, can you possibly face life with peace
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM? 3. What Stephen did Paul says in Romans 8 v28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. This is such a difficult concept to grasp, especially if you have experienced terrible suffering, grief and sadness. But this is the bold claim of Paul. Where is God when you need him? Well He is working to bring good out of bad. ‘Are we in a position to evaluate the author when we have only read the first page? Vince Vitale Jesus had told the disciples over and over again the gospel is not just for Jerusalem. It’s not just for the Jews. It’s for all people, but they hadn’t left
WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM? If we can take hold of what Stephen said, and then ask God to show us what Stephen saw, then like many Christians before us and those with us now, we can do what Stephen did