What brought you here today?
How would you describe yourself?
Searching for more purpose?
We all long for a sense of purpose.
We all hope to be a part of something bigger. We look to a cause, a mission or a person to rally behind. Perhaps you ask yourself, 'What is my purpose, and what will I matter when all is said and done?' Many people search for purpose in causes that promise lasting change – typically to make the world a better place for generations.
In the words of Don Quixote:
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go...
We long to achieve, accomplish, or belong to something that will continue long after we depart – ideally for all eternity.
King Solomon concluded that God 'has planted eternity in the human heart, but people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end (1).'
Does Infinite and eternal purpose exist?
Infinite and eternal purpose exists; we can't find it ourselves.
Augustine (aka Saint Augustine) wrote, ' There is a God-shaped vacuum in every man that only Christ can fill. Christ (Jesus) came to make God known so that you might be deeply known by God. This is your created purpose – to be in a relationship with your eternal creator God and know him as your Father.
Jesus said, 'I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (2).
If you want to know Jesus and experience the purpose he came to bring, contact us for a free Gospel of John.
Life can be tiring. It can be made more difficult by illness, financial burdens and loss. Often the things we chase after in life fill us for a while but leave us feeling empty. Jesus spoke with a woman at Jacob's Well in Palestine. It was in the heat of the day, a time when people didn't usually go out. This woman was hoping to go unnoticed. She had been in many relationships that didn't last and felt empty.
As she drew the water, Jesus explained, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life (4).'
Why money, sex, power, and many other things do not satisfy us?
We feel empty when we look for satisfaction aside from God. The Bible calls it idolatry. Idolatry is not giving God the first place in your life. People make idols of money, sex and power and many other things. Those things do not satisfy. They leave us feeling empty and often used.
The woman discovered that love, forgiveness and acceptance of God bring true satisfaction. She left her house hoping to meet no one. She came back telling everyone about Jesus.
Jesus said, 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full (3).'
Contact us for a free copy of Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller or a Gospel of John.
I’m an Atheist.
A Psalm (song from the Bible) by King David opens with the line, 'The fool says in his heart "there is no God (5)".'
A friend of mine was pretty offended: 'Does being an atheist make me a fool!?' The Psalm goes on to describe the evil behaviour of this fool. He isn't a fool simply because he is an atheist. It is also true that a theist (a person who does believe in a God) may be a fool. However, the statement 'there is no God' is a foolish statement.
Unlike agnosticism (which isn't sure about God), atheism makes an absolute statement that 'there is no God'. But how could you know that? The only way to know that there is no God is to be everywhere at once or to know everything. It is a bold claim and a little arrogant. Ironically, to say 'there is no God' is a claim to be God.
Why can't we put God in the same category as Nessie, Bigfoot, or other mythological characters?
You might respond that following the same reasoning, we can't say with absolute certainty that there is no Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot. You would be right.
I am not an atheist regarding the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot – I am a doubtful agnostic. But we can't put God in the same category as Nessie, Bigfoot, or other mythological characters. Certainly not the God of the Bible who walked this earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Is Jesus of Nazareth an actual true historical character?
The world without Jesus is somewhat different from that without Nessie or Bigfoot. Jesus of Nazareth is an actual true historical character. His teachings have transformed cultures and influenced law and ethics. He has brought change to the lives of countless millions of people. Jesus commands change and cannot be ignored. Jesus' opening words, as recorded in Mark's Gospel, include the challenge: 'Repent of your sins and believe the Good News (6)!'
Jesus' enemies cannot deny that Jesus existed. They also cannot ignore him. In the 1st Century, they eventually made plans to kill him for claiming to be God. Atheism throughout the centuries follows the very same path, ultimately asserting that 'God is dead'. In his book 'God in the Dock', C.S. Lewis describes how people, rather than believing themselves to be on trial before God, put God on trial and condemn him to death. Atheism, by its own definition, is a rejection of the assertion that there are gods (7).'
The Bible story explains that right from the beginning, people have chosen to reject God. People prefer the forbidden. We set ourselves up in the place of God, and Biblical and secular history tells the story of the sad consequences. Atheism is not only foolish, it is utterly hopeless.
Jesus gives hope: 'Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!'.
Are you a sceptic/Agnostic?
Perhaps you call yourself an agnostic because you know you can't say you're an atheist. Maybe you don't want to believe in God?
It's an excellent place to start by asking yourself if you have a reason to be biased towards unbelief.
- Am I angry or disappointed with God?
- Do I want the freedom to live without moral restraint?
Perhaps you have doubts or unanswered questions:
- Wouldn't the world be better without religion?
- How can we be sure there is an afterlife?
- Can we really trust the Bible?
Tired of popular culture?
Did you ever consider that Jesus' teachings were revolutionary? They were revolutionary for their time. They still are revolutionary today.
Culture might seem to be changing fast, even accelerating, but as the ancient King Solomon mused: 'There is nothing new under the sun (8).
That was three millennia ago. The world has always been obsessed with image, money and power. People describe their lives as #blessed when they are popular, successful and the world seems to smile on them.
Jesus teaches the opposite
Jesus, in what is known as the 'Sermon on the Mount, teaches the opposite (9).
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs, is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth...
James, in his New Testament letter to the churches, explains that the culture of the world and the culture of following Jesus are so opposed to each other that 'if you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God' (10).'
An entirely different culture
The self-righteous Pharisees of Jesus' day were in many ways like the influencers of today. The Pharisees may have appeared outwardly religious, but ultimately they were driven by the very same things – image, wealth and popularity. If you didn't follow their rules, you were a social outcast.
Into this setting, Jesus preached, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls (11).
Jesus gave us each other as his followers to establish an entirely different culture from the world's popular one—a culture defined not by selfishness and self-promotion but by selflessness and self-denial. Jesus is at the centre, with his selfless sacrifice bringing us together as his people.
Jesus says to his disciples: 'Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another (12).'
You are welcome to join us Sunday at 11 am for a time of praise (some songs), a short teaching from the Bible and an opportunity to chat over tea and coffee afterwards.
Join us on Sunday, or if you would like to meet in town for tea or coffee, I would be delighted to chat through any questions you might have.
Alternatively, GotQuestions is a great resource to answer many of people's objections and concerns about God, Christianity and the Bible.