Richard Mark Lee

Is There a God? #ExploreGod #SermonRecap

 

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Over the years, I’ve had days of question and confusion and dark days of doubt. I’ve struggled with issues of faith and the reality of God. I never dismissed the possibility of God – simply questioning and dealing with doubt. Each time I found the patience, providence and grace of God.

There have been times when I’ve had conversations with friends, neighbors and even relatives who don’t believe there is a God… sometimes through spirited debate and other times through simply listening to the painful experiences of life. Maybe we’ve all had those moments in life where we wonder – where is God? or maybe there is no God. Is He a myth, an illusion or is He real? Does God Exist? Is there another question that is more important to answer than this? I would suggest there is no more important question.

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The good news is that God is not intimidated by our questions, confusion or doubt.

We’ve all written letters to God. Even if it wasn’t a literal letter, we’ve all tossed up prayers in the midst of struggles. And God welcomes those questions. Though he might not write his name in the sky, or respond to your letter with a handwritten note, he’s given us lots of indications of his presence.

Some argue for the non-existence of God based on the presence of evil in the world. On the other hand, others put their faith in humanity’s ever increasing knowledge of science and progress. However, in order to truly deny God’s existence, people should be invited to first listen to what the book believed to be authored by God has to say. The way to find out is to be open minded about the claims of the Bible and explore those claims and then reach your verdict.

The Bible is the book that claims to be authored by God. We’ll actually explore the reliability of Scripture in a few weeks. In both the OT and NT there are passages that point to creation as an indicator of a creator. The beauty of creation points to a creator. We see this in Psalm 19.

God’s creation is on display at all times. In fact, his creation testifies to the fact that He is present because His handiwork is visible. This Psalm calls the reader to think upon the greatness of God and His creation. It does not just represent God, but declares the reality that He is present and creation testifies to His glory.

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Now, turn to the New Testament book of Romans 1, Paul echoes this same language of the Psalm 19.

In Psalm 19, God’s words go out to the end of the earth expressing the glory of God. In Romans 1:20, God’s glory and his worthiness to be praised continues for all of eternity. Paul says in Romans 1:19-20 that what can be known about God is plainly visible.

When was the last time you stopped and wondered at the vastness and beauty of the heavens? The power of the oceans? Or the beauty of the mountains? Or have you considered the meticulous details of the smallest nuances of creation such as the way a spider spends its web? The voices of creation go out to the ends of the earth. God’s desire is for His glory to the earth as the waters cover the seas.

Both Psalm 19 in the Old Testament and Romans 1 in the New Testament challenges the secular worldview. In Romans, Paul describes the rebellion of mankind by pointing out an arrogant blatant dismissal of God’s very existence. The root of the problem is ultimately a heart issue. Though there has been much advancement in science, which has led to the increased knowledge about physical and biological processes and even improvement of humanity’s well-being, the corruptness of the human heart has remained the same since man’s Fall from Eden. So, it seems that at the end of the day simply removing God from the equation leaves man in no better situation than where he was from the initial rejection of God.

Jesus taught this same message. In John’s 3:36, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Both Jesus and Paul speak of God’s wrath. There is the coming day of the Lord when God will render to every man either blessings or judgment and also there is a present reality found in Romans 1:24-28 where Paul writes of the “handing over” of humanity to their chosen path and its consequences.

Mankind has rejected and denied God. Paul points out their hearts became foolish and darkened as a result of their denying acknowledgment and worship of God. Rejection of God naturally results in a person being darkened by sin. The disposition of the heart is so determinative in the formulation of a worldview. Fundamental beliefs are deeply rooted in a person’s heart. So, the belief or non-belief in God is a foundational belief, which undergirds every other moral, ethical and faith commitment.  If you want to study further, I would suggest Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God.

Paul is saying in Romans 1 that those who do not worship the true and living God have resorted to worshiping something
 else. What they worship is a created thing, an idol. Paul is pointing out the proclivity of all people to corrupt the knowledge of God they possess by making gods of their own.

Psalm 19 & Romans 1 - both clearly point out that God does exist and that his creation testifies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year that His glory is on display everywhere. However, that has huge ramifications for every person on the planet. If God does exist, then that changes everything. This can be either a liberating or frightening reality. For those that wish to continue in their own wisdom and path in life, then unfortunately disaster, hopelessness, and despair are ahead. But, for those who seek to find life and meaning, then great joy, purpose and relief has come!

It’s been said, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” In other words, the fact that we have an innate sense of right and wrong is an indicator of a God who instilled morality in us.

Is the evidence convincing? Is the Spirit of God revealing Himself to you today? Statistics show that 80–85% of people believe in God. Are you among them? Even more, are you living as if God exists?

I know that God exists and has revealed himself to me in the person and work of Jesus Christ. I once willingly rebelled against God and cognitively or practically denied his existence. But now God has been gracious enough to reveal himself to me so that I can know that he not only exists, but is present at all times to will and to work for our good pleasure.

A Brief Word to Christians 

As Christ followers how do we respond to those who are questioning or even denying the existence of God? First, we need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. So often Christians are quick to assert what they believe, but never take the time to listen to the objections and the reasons why people have denied God exists. We are good at bumper stickers and T-shirts that make our point without listening to the needs of others. We can’t expect others to believe the gospel and subsequently God’s existence if we don’t take the time to listen learn and love those who might disagree. Jesus has called us to make disciples of all nations and discipleship is often hard work and messy.

Secondly, we must be willing to be bold for the truth. Whether or not God exists has huge ramifications for every person. In fact, one individual who considers himself an atheist is quoted as saying, “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect them at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them because it would make it socially awkward... How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

So there is tension… to listen, learn and love and at the same time in that love, boldly share the message of God’s grace and goodness through Jesus. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being ready to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

If each person here were to truly live not only as if God exists, but like he cares for us and has a plan for us, what would change in our lives? In our families? In our schools and workplaces? In our neighborhoods? In our city? Imagine if we lived as if God were with us always. It would be enough to change the world.

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The existence of God is an unavoidable fact. Evidence comes from creation, morality, intelligence, and love. Once we establish that there must be a God, we are ready to discover who God really is. He has revealed Himself through nature, through His Word and through His people.

 

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