What we believe matters, but we all know people who believe things that aren’t based on truth. I once worked with a hilarious guy who only drank bottle water because he was certain that the government was trying to control everyone with fluoride in the water. Unlike believes which are just based on whims, worry, or wishful thinking, Jesus never once asks us to follow anything that isn’t fact. Actually, he equated himself to truth saying, “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.”Being a disciple isn’t only about believing something that we want to be truth. As we continue in our series focusing on the BUILDING BLOCKS OF DISCIPLESHIP we find that…
As a disciple of Jesus our Beliefs are based on FACTS (1 Corinthians 15:13-14) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
Paul takes us to the crux of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ and the Good News, that Jesus Christ as man, died and experienced a bodily resurrection. He grounds what happened solely and firmly in reality. He turns to the Holy Spirit’s resurrection of Christ not only as confirmation of his identity, but also as the cementing for our continuing faith. Defeating death was a defiant proclamation that proved had the authority and the influence to fulfill his promises to us! Perishable would be replaced with imperishable, dishonored raised in glory, weakness replaced by power, and the natural elevated to the spiritual.
Sometimes, I listen to NPR when I feel like getting riled up or want to hear something off the wall, and a week before Christmas, I wasn’t disappointed. In honor of the Christmas story, the radio host from HERE AND NOW had an archeologist from the University of North Carolina on as their guest. The first question was simple, how might of Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. After giving the three routes that were possible, the archeologist quickly threw in a caveat—“I don’t think they ever took a journey at all. It is all just a made up story.” It was her opinion. You gotta love when something fires you up and you try to call in…luckily they didn’t answer…who knows what I would have actually said. What is ironic about the situation is what the archaeologist failed to mention is, well the archeology and history. That censuses were common, inscriptions were found that indicated that Quirinius was governor of Syria twice once in 6 AD and one time prior to this right around the time of Christ, as Luke indicates. An Egyptian papyrus dated from AD 104 reports the same practice of families going back to their home city for taxation-census. 2015 brought evidence of King Hezekiah and King David when experts said they were fictitious. The evidence for the Bible continues to mount.
At some point facts will only take us so far and faith has to carry us into the arms of Christ, but we also have facts which we can rightly stand on, defend, and deserve a hearing in the market place of ideas. Proverbs 30:5 declares, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as Immanuel who interjected himself into history, stands before us as fact. Not a fact that can be relegated to the confines of private gathering, or just a private opinion, but demands a public confession. (www3.telus.net/trbrooks/firstcensus.htm)
Timothy Keller in his book Belief in an Age of Skepticism recorded the testimony of a young man named Kevin: “While sitting in a coffee shop reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I put down the book and wrote in my notebook, ‘the evidence surrounding the claims of Christianity is simply overwhelming.’ I realized that my achievements were ultimately unsatisfying, the approval of man is fleeting, that a carpe diem life lived solely for adventure is just a form of narcissism and idolatry. And so I became a believer in Christ.” (Kevin, New York City, from the book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller.)
What were you chasing after? Instead of trying to stand firm in the sinking sand of a broken society, I finally found, like Kevin, the opportunity to stand on the facts of God’s word. Will you stand with me in truth? As we continue at our look at the Building Blocks of Discipleship–we are going to cover another aspect of BELIEF tomorrow. Join me as we look at the implications of living out our faith in Christ as an identity rather than just another idea and a faith of fact rather than fiction.
What has your testimony of a transformed heart and mind looked like? I’d be honored if you would share your stories! God bless until next time.