The Lord speaks to us in His Word. Our view of the events taking place are our world view. I want my children (young adults) to develop a Biblical Worldview.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Life's Toughest Question by Jim McClarty
Here is a good post on answering Life's toughest question. And deciding what that question is. This is from Jim McClarty at www.salvationbygrace.org.
Life's Toughest Question
How would you go about
structuring a message titled: answering life's toughest questions?
I have a brief answer. Woody
Allen said in one of his films (they all run together at some point)
that humans spend their time creating trouble and dilemmas in their
life so that they won't have to face the really big issue, which is
that we are all going to die. There's a lot of truth in that. I would
add that we create dilemmas that are actually within our power to
control or solve in order to fool ourselves into believing that we are
the masters of our destinies and that we actually will have some control
over our ultimate fate.
But, the real issue remains
- we are all going to die.
I've heard a whole rash of
sermons on the radio lately [they seem to run in cycles. I think the
radio guys all listen to each other and when somebody comes up with an
idea or series that sounds intriguing the rest of them jump on the
bandwagon so as not to lose their audience...but, I digress) that have
to do with Life's Tough Questions, and similar titles. And, of course,
they all run through the litany of human troubles, especially those
that are "big press" items, like abortion, race relations,
marriage, crime, drinking, etc.
To be honest, those messages
don't do much for me. I listen to them to try and get the pulse of
"the church as entertainment" movement. But, they are always
little more than popular questions with semi-Biblical, or
pseudo-Biblical, answers. Abortion? Hate the sin; love the sinner. Race
relations? Love your brother as yourself. Marriage? Husbands, love you
wives as Christ loved the church. Crime? Thou shalt not steal.
Drinking? Be not drunk with wine.
You get the picture. Basic
answers to complex questions. It's sort of like Nancy Reagan's answer
to the drug problem - Just Say No. Well, if the drug problem in America
were so simple it could be solved with a slogan, we'd have licked it a
long time ago.
questions are hardly anything new. These are problems that are typical
of the human condition in any age. Sinners do sinful things. The sinful
things that sinner do will always be a problem for the church. Well, at
least they used to be a problem, until the contemporary church decided
to embrace them as opportunities to be more "seeker
The supposed "hard
questions" of life aren't really that hard. They may be complex,
but they are ultimately manageable. That gives us frail humans some
sense that we can, by own effort, solve some of our own problems. And,
most of what I hear called "the hard problems" are really
quite basic, according to Scripture.
Human actions fall into two
categories: right and wrong. Most reasonably educated people, or at
very least people indwelt by the Spirit of God, have some sense of
what's acceptable and what's not in God's eyes. Only sociopaths don't
understand that killing people is at very least
"anti-social." We may act as if we don't recognize any authority
but ourselves, but deep down we all fear that there might actually be a
God, He might actually be watching, and we may in fact be held
accountable for our actions. But, we don't have to think about that if
we fill our time and thoughts with problems we might actually be able
to solve with a little brain-power and effort. We'll just push that
"God" thing to the side.
So, are there answers to our
social problems and ills? Sure.
Abortion? Don't do it.
Children are a gift from God. Murder is wrong. There, that wasn't too
tough. Race relations? Esteem every man as better than yourself and
remember that the purest races are mixed breeds. In Christ there is
neither Jew nor Gentile. He has made of the two "one new
man." So, act like it. I could go on, but you get my drift. God
actually has provided answers to our "toughest" questions. We
just don't like His answers. Murder? Don't kill. Crime? Don't covet; it
leads to stealing. Sexual immorality? Don't fornicate. Don't commit
adultery. Those are the answers.
The simple reality is that
God has laid down His standard and He expects His standard to be
upheld. Now, will it be? Nope. Sinners to sinful things. Will it be
upheld in Church? It should be, but that's why grace is so necessary.
We all have come short of the glory of God.
So, are life's toughest
questions that same list of social ills that's repeated ad nauseum in
these sermons? No, absolutely not. Life's toughest questions are the
ones nobody asking, because they are afraid of the answer. So, to avoid
the answer, they don't ask the questions. It's easier to deal with
questions we can answer in a thirty-minute, radio-friendly sermon.
So, what are the tough
Let's start at the top: Is
there a God and will He really judge me for my actions?
The answer, of course, is:
Yes, there is a God. And yes, everywhere that He presents Himself in
Scripture He represents Himself as a jealous God, who will judge in
righteousness and who is willing to condemn people eternally.
Life's toughest questions #2:
Is it true that all men are sinners, born dead in trespasses and sins
and there's not one thing we can do to satisfy the holiness, or appease
the wrath, of God?
Answer: That's right. You're
born dead in sin. It doesn't matter whether you think you're a sinner
or whether you have verifiable evidence that you're better than, say,
Hitler. The standard of righteousness is not other people, the standard
is the Holiness of God. And, whether it's Hitler or Mother Teresa, all
we like sheep have gone astray and turned, everyone of us, to our own
way. No human being that is tried on the basis of his or her personal
works and individual level of sanctification will be allowed into
Heaven. We are all guilty, and our best works of righteousness are
nothing more than filthy, bloody rags.
Life's toughest question #3:
Is it true that God is absolutely holy and that people have to attain a
standard of holiness commensurate with God's in order to avoid eternal
Answer: Yep, that's the
deal. The standard is impossibly high. Don't attempt to lower the
standard in order to convince yourself that you can attain it. I mean,
if real holiness could be achieved by how you dress, or wear your hair,
or what church you attend, then we could certainly live up to that. But,
those are manmade standards designed to convince egocentric people that
they actually are impressing God with their actions.
Nevertheless, the true
standard, according to Jesus, had to exceed that of the scribes and
Pharisees (who were actively attempting to achieve salvation through
the actions of the Law). In other words, neither the Pharisees nor the
disciples had yet to achieve a righteous standard sufficient to
obligate God to save them. No one gets in by their personal merit. The
standard remains and the standard does not bend. God does not grade on
a curve. Only absolute, eternal, spotless holiness will achieve eternal
Life's toughest question #4:
Oh my Heavens!!! What if those first three questions and answers are
right????!!!! What will I do???!!!! I mean, if God is absolutely holy
and I am absolutely depraved, then I am absolutely hopeless!!! Who
shall deliver me from the body of this death?
And that, my friend,
is life's toughest question. God is holy. I'm dead in sins. The gulf between
us is insurmountable. What will I do?
That's the question no one
seems to ask anymore. They want to make sinners look good, or bring God
down to our level. Either way, they are creating a false answer to a
seemingly impossible question. God's standard does not bend and dead
men do not make themselves alive. We are in desperate trouble.
Life's one toughest
question: What will I do about eternity?
Answer: Christ. There is one
mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. That's the answer.
Christ did not live and die in order to give us a simpler, calmer, more
blessed life here on earth. He did not agonize on the cross in order to
supply us with endless health and comfortable shoes. He did not endure
separation from His Father, causing Him to cry out, "My God, My
God, why have you forsaken me?" in order for us to make Him our
bellhop and let Him know when we need something from Him.
The answer to life's
toughest question is that only faith in Christ's finished work will
result in salvation, the only thing you absolutely, positively must
have when you leave this world. And, as I said, we're all going to
leave. You can suffer through life's other miseries and do it with
great aplomb or with wailing and gnashing of teeth, but if you don't
know the answer to that one question, you will be cast off from God's
presence for the rest of forever. Get that one question right, and
Christ's own righteousness will be imputed to your account, and you
will live gloriously through eternity, accepted in the beloved, and
securely wrapped in the powerful, unchanging love of the Father.
Spend the rest of your life
debating the minutiae of the human experience and you may never have to
address that question.
So, if I were constructing a
message with that title, that's the approach I would take. I know that
life has bumps and troubles. But, that's life. The big questions are
those that lead to eternal life or damnation, and those questions are
far too frequently ignored in favor of the minor, more immediate
dilemmas that are within our grasp.
Grace and peace, philos.
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