It’s rather amazing how many people subscribe to the notion that it doesn’t really matter much what a person believes, when it comes to Christianity. They would hold that a few beliefs, and it would be a very few , are basic to being a Christian. If pressed, many of them would probably state that while their personal preference is Christianity, they don’t necessarily believe that a person has to be a Christian to be saved.
Jesus told the apostles, "and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). He would establish His church, and nothing would prevent its being established. The establishment of the church was of paramount importance in the Lord's mission to this earth.
Last Sunday I began a short series of sermons on Self Esteem. Self esteem has to do with a sense of self worth, and it's a part of the human psyche that affects every area of our lives, including our spiritual lives. First, we'll look at the very concept of self esteem and consider why we ought to have a sense of self worth. Then we'll establish what is the best source for good self esteem. We'll conclude by examining some Bible examples of people who found the right source for self esteem and thereby changed their lives for the better.
Many people find themselves torn over how the universe came into existence. The Bible does not, in the slightest, beat around the bush on the matter. It states, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
Many so called gods have come and gone through the ages. The Lord God Jehovah is completely unique - He is "the everlasting God!" (Rom. 16:26). Without beginning and without end, eternal by nature. He was not created, designed, fashioned, manufactured or imagined into existence. It is not enough to say there is no god like Him - there is no God except Him!
Probably, one of the most prominent characteristics of God that immediately comes to the mind of most people is His power. Nuclear weapons, laser beams, super heroes with super powers... We're bombarded with images of power through literature and media. But all of those images, and all of the potential power that can be conjured up by the imagination of man, does not begin to compare with God's power. His power is infinite, limitless. The scriptures refer to Him as omnipotent, all powerful! (Rev. 19:6).
We don't like to think of God being a God of judgment (Eccl. 12:13-14) and wrath (Rom. 1:18). However, we need to keep in mind the reason for His exhibiting those particular characteristics - sin, unrighteousness, unfaithfulness, wickedness, evil - all of which are contrary to God's very nature and self-destructive to those who practice such. God is totally righteous, and He created us in His own image. He holds us accountable for living up to that image as best we can. While God condemns sin and warns us to abstain from it (1 Thess. 5:22), He is also merciful and eager to forgive when we repent and seek His forgiveness (Dan. 8:8-9).
If we have a problem with God bring a God of judgment, thinking of Him being a God of wrath is even more troublesome. We don't like to think of God in that light. We like to focus on what we consider to be His positive characteristics - love, goodness, kindness, mercy, grace and forgiveness. We put a negative connotation on the concepts of judgment and wrath and even more so as they might apply to God.
We're happy to think of God being good and holy and His being a God of love and mercy and grace and truth. We like it that He is faithful and righteous, and if we don't think too much about the implications we feel pretty good about His being a God of commitment. His being a just God makes us a little uneasy since being just means that He is a God of justice; we want mercy and grace, not justice. If God being just gives us some twinges of discomfort, His being a God of judgment really sets off alarms.
To all fathers out there, Happy Father's Day! I can't think of a more appropriate time to ask the following question: "What will happen to a nation whose children grow up without a conscience?" One reason it's appropriate to ask this question now is due to the mounting evidence that such is happening in our nation, right now.
Gary L. Hutchens