Noble Cause

There's no question: this presentation is, by far, more theologically rich than anything in dispute at this or any other blog in the last 3 weeks.

No question.
Why am I a Christian? I can give you lots of reasons why the Bible is word of God; I can give you lots of reasons why I believe Jesus rose from the dead; I can … I can argue all those things, but fundamentally, why am I a Christian? Because I believe fully by God’s grace, as a very young person, I recognized that if God is good, if God has all power, then if I break God’s rules, if I rebel against the one who made me, there are dire consequences to doing that. I was a very young child, so I – I couldn’t use real complex language to describe that, but I do remember to this very day, realizing that because I was who I was, I had done things in God’s sight that were wrong. And from the world’s perspective I was a good little boy, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I did things that I knew were wrong. And I knew if God was truly good that he would have to punish me. And I didn’t like that idea. And I thankfully had heard the Christian message, and talked to my parents, and I said, “I don’t want to be punished by God. What do I do?” And they explained to me that there is only one way of escaping the punishment of God. It was – Jesus took it in my place. Will you believe in him, follow him?

And as a child, I said, “yes, I will.”

Now, you need to understand one more thing. When you say, “why are you a Christian?” There is a very real sense in which the reason that about 4 decades have gone by in my walk with the Lord that I’m a Christian today. It actually has nothing to do with me. What I mean by that is, that faith which expressed itself as a very young child in fear of punishment from God and the desire to know who Jesus was and to know how he can save me, that faith has continued not because of anything special about me but because that faith comes from God. It’s by something we call grace.

Grace is God’s way of working with people who don’t deserve anything from him, in fact they deserve his wrath, but instead for reasons that glorify him and him alone, God is gracious to people who don’t deserve anything but God’s wrath. And so the reason that even that day my heart was opened to understand the danger of the situation that I was in as a sinner, and why to this day I continue to believe, it all goes back to that one word “grace”. God has sustained me; God has kept me as a Christian. He’s done what I could not do in and of myself.

And so, why am I a Christian? On the one hand you might say it’s because I have seen all of these things, and I’ve agreed that these things are true. And in another sense, the reason I’ve done all of those things is because God in his grace has been merciful to me.

And so I ask a question of you: if you are not a Christian, why are you not? You know that God is holy. You know that God is your creator. You know that he is there; you’ve always known that he is there. Every time that you have sinned, every time you have gone your own way, there has been the sense that you’re being watched. Even when you were alone, you felt that guilt. You know God is there. And you know that you’re not at peace with him. So why aren’t you a Christian? Have you found some other way that can actually give you true peace with God? Is there truly any foundation that you’ve found to believe that by doing something in some religion you can buy peace with God?

Isn’t it obvious that the only way that you could ever have peace with God is if God is the one who provides it? And that in a very special way?

You say, “what am I supposed to do?” Cry out for mercy. Cry out for mercy!

You say, “that’s all?” The person who cries out for mercy is the person who has already confessed, “I need mercy. I’m justly condemned. I need mercy.” I can tell you this: God has never ever ever rejected one who has come to him in the name of his son seeking mercy. And he will not reject you.

So one last question you might ask is, if you’ve told many people this, why aren’t everybody Christians? Because sometimes you can tell this to someone and they’ll honestly look you in the eye and say, “I don’t care. I love myself. I love my life. And I’m not going to give it up for anything.”

Which one are you? If you realize, if you sense, if you know, if you recognize, “yes, I have broken God’s law – I – I know what’s right and wrong, and I know, I know the only God who makes sense is a God who must punish sin.” Does that make you numb? Does it make you want to run away and have nothing to do with it? If in your heart of hearts you desire to cry out for mercy, remember he will always, always be found in mercy for those who cry in mercy.
Amen. Who can argue with that?