God's truth for today's world

Today, we tackle the ultimate God Question “What Happens When I Die?” It is an incredibly important question, but a lot of people just try to ignore the fact that we’re all going to die. However, death is not just the end.

Death really is the beginning of another existence that will continue forever. No matter what difficulty or pain you experience in this life, no matter how bad or how long it lasts, it will be over in 100 years or less. Eternity will never be over, it continues on forever and ever. So we’d better have an understanding of where we’re going to live for eternity. It’s a lot more important than many of the things we spend our time on in this life.

NIV Ecclesiastes 3:11 [God] has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. There’s something in every human being’s heart that wants to live forever, that wants to enjoy life for more than 70-80 years. People spend billions trying to look and feel young, yet nothing can stop the reality of death. Death comes to the rich and the poor, to the powerful and the weak, to the smart and the no so smart. Today, there is a big interest in life after death.

Near death experiences are recounted in many places. A near death experience is generally when someone is close to dying and they go through some sort of out-of-body experience and then are revived. Now most near death experiences we hear about seem beautiful, yet research shows that at least half of these experiences have to do with hell, rather than heaven. Most people think they are going to heaven, yet Jesus tells us that most people are going to hell. NIV Matthew 7:13-14 For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. The road to destruction in eternity is wide and many people are on that road. The road that leads to eternal life is narrow and only a few find it. Far too many people assume they are on the right road, when they are headed straight for an eternal train wreck.

The horrors of hell are far worse than anything you could imagine. The wonders of heaven are far better than anything you could imagine. Why worry about eternity now? Because your view of eternity will shape your life today. Likewise, the choices you make in this life will determine your eternal destiny.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my June 24, 2007 message entitled What Happens When I Die?

Today, we tackle one of the toughest God Questions of all, “Why Does God Allow Suffering? Suffering is all around us. We see it on the news, we hear it from our friends and we experience it in our lives. Some suffering is just a momentary inconvenience, other suffering is devastating.

Jesus told His followers in NIV John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. Jesus says that as long as we are in the world, we will have trouble, we will have pain and suffering. For some people, suffering embitters them against God. For others, suffering draws them closer to God.

What suffering are you experiencing in your life? God wants to answer some questions you may have about suffering. But even more than that, God wants each one person to experience His presence, even in the midst of suffering.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my June 17, 2007 message entitled Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Currently, we’re in a message series called “God Questions.” We’re looking at some basic and tough questions that people have about God. I encourage you to read along in The God Questions book that we have made available. If you’re a first-time guest, you can pick up a free copy at the end of the service at the rear of the auditorium.

Today, I want to address the question “Is Jesus The Only Way To God?” The majority of people in America would answer that question with a resounding “No”. For most people, getting to heaven doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus. How do most Americans believe you go to heaven? Simply by being a good person. The equation is simple: good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell. What does good mean? Well, that varies greatly among people. Most people think they fit in the good category, only 0.5% of people think they will go to hell.

What does Jesus say? NIV John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Notice the article, Jesus says “I am the way”. Then in case that wasn’t clear, he says that no one comes to the Father except through Himself. That sounds pretty exclusive to me.

How did the early church answer the question “Is Jesus the only way to God?” Speaking of Jesus, Peter says NIV Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. That seems pretty clear. Peter is saying that the only way to be saved, to have a relationship with God, to go to heaven when you die, is through Jesus Christ.

What about the great apostle Paul? How did he interpret Jesus’ teaching? NLT 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus. Paul says that there is only one person who can bring men and God together, and that person is Christ Jesus. So, Christianity and the Bible are pretty clear, Jesus is the only way to God.

What about all the other religions in the world? What do they believe? Could all those people be wrong? Let’s look at this chart of the top religions in the world. The blue area in the pie chart is Christianity with 33% of the world’s population The red area is Muslim with 20 % of the world’s population. The green area is Hindu with 13% of the world’s population. The purple area is Buddhism with 6% The orange area is non-religious with 12%.

How are these religions distributed across the world? Here’s a map of the countries of the world, color-coded with their main religion. The purple, blue and pink areas are Christian – North and South America, Europe, southern Africa, former USSR and Australia. The green areas across northern Africa and into the Middle East are Muslim. The orange area is Hinduism in India And the yellow-tan areas are Buddhism and other Chinese religions.

Today, we’re going to look at the top religions in the world to see what they believe. A lot of people think all religions are the same, we’ll see if that is true.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my June 10, 2007 message entitled Is Jesus The Only Way To God?

Currently, we’re in a message series called “God Questions.” We’re looking at some basic questions that everyone has had at one time or another about God. Last Sunday, we addressed the question, “How can I know that God is real?” If you missed the message, you can listen to it on our website or order a CD at the Information table. One of the evidences we have a God’s existence is what He has revealed to us in the Bible. However, today in America, less than half of the adults believe that the Bible is accurate in everything it says. So today, I want to address the question “Why Should I Believe The Bible?” Why should we base our lives on a book that was completed two thousand years ago?

The vast majority of people think there are some good and true things in the Bible, but they pick and choose which parts they want to believe. Today, I want to talk to you about why you should believe in the whole Bible, not just some parts of it. What makes the Bible different from all other books. Let’s take a look at NIV Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is flawless; … Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. The Bible claims to be flawless, that is perfect, without error. Here we are warned against adding to God’s Word in any way. Of course if the word of God is flawless, we should not subtract from God’s Word, as we are warned against in other passages.

Is the copy of the New International Version we are quoting from flawless? Actually, what the Bible is claiming is that the Bible in it’s original language, was and is flawless. Basically, the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. This morning I want to give you sound reasons to believe that the Bible in its original language is really flawless. And secondly, that the English translation that you use, it actually a reliable translation of the original. So let’s put our learning caps on and answer the question of the morning, “Why Should I Believe The Bible?”

To hear more about this topic, listen to my June 3, 2007 message entitled Why Should I Believe The Bible?

Welcome to all of you who have joined us for this message series called “The God Questions.” Over the next five weeks, we’re going to look at some of the central questions that people have about God. Tough questions that many people struggle to find answers to. I’m going to provide you with answers to those questions from the Bible, answers that will make sense to you, answers that you can use to answer other people’s questions.

I believe that the end result will be positive not matter where you are at in your spiritual journey. If you’re a believer, then your faith will be strengthened. If you’re still searching, then I believe the answers will help you find the God you’re searching for. This morning, we’re going to start with the question “Is God Real?” Now, since you’re in church, it shouldn’t come as a shock that I will answer the question with a resounding “Yes.” However, what I’m really going to be addressing this morning is how can we know that God is real?

To believe that God exists takes faith. NIV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Faith is what is required to be certain of something or someone that you cannot see. We can’t see God with our physical eyes, so to believe that He is real takes faith. Some people have a problem with believing in someone that they cannot see. However, the fact of the matter is that all of life is based on a kind of faith. You put money in the stock market with faith that stock prices will go up over time. You take a job with faith that you’ll get paid every month. You get married believing that you’ll live happily every after. But sometimes what you believed in doesn’t pan out.

Faith in life is based on reasoning and prior experience. You check out the companies that you are going to invest in or take a job with. You spend time with the person you are going to marry before you say I do. God also wants us to use our minds, to use our experience when we look at the big questions like “Is God Real?” Has God given us any evidence of His reality? Or is our faith just to be blind? The Bible tells us that God has given every human being ample evidence to rationally believe in His reality. Today, I’m going to look at some of that evidence. I believe it will strengthen your faith. So let’s look at the first evidence for God’s reality.

To hear more about this topic, listen to my May 27, 2007 message entitled Is God Real?