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To Believe or Not To Believe... - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
November 12, 2023 5:00 am

To Believe or Not To Believe... - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 12, 2023 5:00 am

"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?

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Since 2000 years ago, up till the present moment, Jesus Christ is still changing lives. I see the evidence all around of people who were one way and their lives get changed.

But it is narrow. And Jesus said, enter the narrow gate, not ponder the gate, not contemplate the gate, not argue about the gate, not have a class discussion on the gate. Once you're all past that, now it's time to enter the gate.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Thanks in part to fairy tales and Disney's Wish Upon a Star, belief is often sometimes equated with doing just that, making a wish. It's something insubstantial that we cling to in hopes of the best happening thanks to a little magical help from a fairy godmother. However, the belief the Bible talks about couldn't be any more different. It's something with substance based on fact that not only informs how we live our lives, but shapes our eternal lives as well. We'll take a closer look at belief and why it matters what we believe in.

But first, let's find out more about this month's Connect with Skip resource offer. Attention moms, dads and anyone who's looking to help children understand the message of the Bible. This month, we're offering the book Soaring Through the Bible for Kids.

God's Word can be a challenge to read and understand, even for adults. And this kid-friendly version of Pastor Skip Heitzig's popular book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, gives young children and tweens a panoramic overview of all 66 books of the Bible, helping them see the context and significance of each. Soaring Through the Bible is a travel guide from Genesis through Revelation for Kids. Each chapter provides a flight plan for exploring a portion of the Bible, along with a brief synopsis that shows what the chapters are about and language kids can understand. Creatively designed with kids in mind, Soaring Through the Bible also features fun illustrations and fascinating facts to keep young minds and hearts engaged and interested. Soaring Through the Bible for Kids will prepare a child for takeoff on a lifelong journey of learning and loving God's Word. We will send you a copy of this unique book along with a booklet for you by Skip titled Why Truth Matters. Simply make a donation to support and expand this radio program with a gift of $50 or more.

Call 1-800-922-1888 or order online at connectwithskip.com. We continue today in verses 22 through 42 of John Chapter 10. So if you'll find that spot, we'll join Skip Hyten as he resumes our study. What unbelieving people love to do is draw the analogy of the God on the mountaintop. See, it's like this. They say God is on top of a steep mountain.

He's up there. And down below are all these people in the world, all wanting to get to God. And they take various paths, but all lead the same place up the mountain to God.

So on one side of the mountain, you might have somebody carving up a windy path and the other side, a more direct route. And everybody down below is so hung up on their path, not knowing that all paths lead to the same place. What's wrong with that analogy? What's wrong with that analogy is it's convenient for unbelievers to have it, but none of the founders of the religion they're talking about would ever agree with that. For instance, if you were to go to Mohammed and say, Mohammed, I believe that all paths lead to God.

Do you agree? What do you think he'd say? He'd say, absolutely not. He taught his followers to fight against anyone who believed that. If you went to Moses, let's just take the three monotheistic religions.

He said, Moses, do you think, I know there's a lot of pagans that hang around out there. Do you think all paths lead to God? He'd say, I said before you, this day, life and death, therefore choose life. If you were to go to Jesus, say, Jesus, you know, you're really great and you say some cool stuff, but I think all paths lead to God. Would Jesus agree with that?

Let's say he said, I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life and no one comes to the Father except through me. What I want you to see is that these religious systems and the founders of these systems all fundamentally disagree with each other and the systems themselves contradict each other. So they can't all be right at the same time. They can't all lead to the same place. A better analogy wouldn't be the mountaintop analogy. Let me give you another one, a maze analogy. I don't know if you've ever been to a maze, maybe even a corn maze, right? They have little paths cut out.

Or if you've ever been to some of the old huge mansions in the East Coast or in Europe where they have these huge hedges and mazes and they're quite fascinating. Well, in a maze, you have different paths that lead in different directions. You might have one that dead ends. You might have two paths that parallel each other. For a long time, one eventually dead ends, one keeps going. You might have one path that goes all the way toward and almost into the very center of the maze before it stops.

But there is in the maze only one correct right path. Jesus said, enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it. Few? Why few? Hey, Jesus, how come few find it? Is it because there's not enough room in heaven?

I'm sorry, we're all booked up. So many people can't fit them all in. Or, well, I like you but I don't like you.

No, the reason that few find it is because the path is too narrow for most. I read a story about a teenage boy who just got his driver's license, a very dangerous combination, and I know this from personal experience. This teenage boy took a wrong turn and went down a one-way street the opposite direction. The wrong way down a one-way street. So all this oncoming traffic is coming his way and he's dodging. Finally, a policeman sees him, pulls him over and says, where are you going?

He says, I don't know, officer, but I must be late because everybody else is already coming back. Do you ever feel that way? You feel that way that you as a Christian holding the set of beliefs that you and I do that we're going down through oncoming traffic. Everybody's going the opposite direction.

We're just sort of like going this direction. Jesus said it's a narrow way. Look at verse 34. Jesus answered them. Now notice what he does. He goes right to the Bible.

He answers them. Is it not written in your law, I said you are gods? That's a direct quote. If he called them gods to whom the word of God came and the scripture cannot be broken, do you say of him whom the father sanctified and sent into the world, you were blaspheming because I said I am the son of God? We have a third characteristic of unbelief. Unbelief neglects the testimony of scripture. Jesus goes right to their Old Testament and he quotes a text of scripture that would validate his ability to make the kind of claims that he makes. It's Psalm 82 where the Lord speaking through the writer Asaph, the Lord says, I have said you are gods.

The Hebrew word Elohim, gods. Now God is speaking to people that are other than God. They're human beings. Probably he's referring to the judges of Israel.

Remember the judges? There's a whole book about them in the Old Testament. These were God's representatives. Have I not said you are gods? And so he quotes that to them. He's speaking to people, God is speaking to people less than God on a human level, giving them the term as representatives, gods.

So here's what Christ does. It's a typical rabbinical argument, arguing from the lesser to the greater. And here's his argument. If men in some sense can be called gods, then how much more appropriate would it be to give the designation to someone who is authentically sent from God and who is the son of God? That's his argument. Now some of you might be mystified at the term son of God.

I've heard this argument. Jesus never said he was God. He said he was the son of God. Well the son of God is one who has the same nature as God. You and I are sons and daughters. We're children of the living God by faith. But when the Bible calls the term son of God, it applies uniquely to Jesus because he has the same nature as the father. That's why he says I and my father are one. They understood him. They picked up stones to kill him because they said you being a man are making yourself God. Son of God is a term of deity. Then look at verse 35.

I love this. Look what's in parentheses. And the scripture cannot be broken.

Hey, question. Do you think Jesus had a high view of scripture or a low view of scripture? High view of scripture.

Well, he did. The way Jesus speaks of scripture, he says, oh, and by the way, it can't be broken. It can't be set aside. It can't be nullified.

It can't be broken. What I want you to notice is that Jesus regards the unity of scripture and the inerrancy of scripture by saying the scripture cannot be broken. Did you know that Jesus repeatedly in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Refers to the Old Testament as the authoritative word of God.

Now, here's a question for you. If Jesus is wrong about that. How could you trust him with anything else? How could a person ever say, well, I trust Jesus, my savior, but I don't believe the Bible is the word of God? Well, then you're not following the same Jesus I'm talking about. Show me your view on the Bible and I'll show you your view on Christ, he says, and the scripture cannot be broken. But one of the hallmarks of unbelief is to neglect the testimony of scripture.

Goes something like this. Well, the Bible is manmade. A bunch of books written by a bunch of guys who were well intentioned, but they contradict each other.

And it's a long time ago and it's very inspiring. And it's probably good to own a Bible because you can press flowers and write names of your family in it. You don't live by it. That's how the unbelieving world regards the Bible. In the state of Indiana, there are six state parks that have hotels in the state park. And because the hotels are in the state parks and the Gideon Society wants to put a Bible in every hotel room. The Department of Natural Resources, pressured by the ACLU, have decided to affix a warning pamphlet to the Gideon Bible. So that when you pull out the drawer in the hotel to get a Gideon Bible, if you left yours at home, there's a warning pamphlet that says, and I quote, a warning, literal belief in this book may endanger your life and health.

And the pamphlet advises that the Bible is a violent, racist, sexist fable. Classic unbelief, not doubt, unbelief. That is then the sinister nature of unbelief as seen here in these verses. Let's look at the second, verse 40. John went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first.

And there he stayed. This is where Jesus began his ministry when John the Baptist baptized him. Then many came to him and said, John performed no sign. Now they're comparing John the Baptist to Jesus. John didn't do any miracles.

This guy did. One of the things that John spoke about this man were true, and many believed in him there. There are two reasons why they believed, and it's quite simple. Belief is simple. They believed in Jesus, first of all, because of the things he did, the signs and the miracles that he did. They saw blind people seeing, and they thought, we've never seen that before.

No other guy we've ever seen could do that. That was a tip-off. The second was the testimony of somebody they respected, and that was John the Baptist. So there's two issues I want you to see about belief. Belief evaluates objective evidence. You say, Skip, what do you mean by objective evidence? Something that is objective isn't tainted by my prejudice or bias. It's observable.

It's universal. Something subjective is what I experience and what I believe. But there's objective evidence. Jesus performed signs. Nobody else has performed those kind of signs. That's evidence to them, and belief will evaluate objective evidence.

What I want you to see is this. Faith is not some blind leap in the dark. That's what Soren Kierkegaard used to say. Well, you just take this jump, this blind leap into faith. No, it's not presumption.

It's based on evidence. Hebrews 11, 1, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By the way, everybody has faith. Everybody has faith. Do you know it takes faith to drive a car?

You may not know about how electrical systems and automobiles work or air and fuel mixture or fuel injection. You might not understand that, but you believe that when you sit in the car and you put the key in that little hole and turn it to the right, it's going to go, start. It takes faith to eat at a restaurant. Some restaurants require more faith than others. Yeah, you believe that they're going to give you a good meal. They're not going to poison it. There's nobody back there trying to kill you. It's going to nourish you.

You're going to get a good deal. You believe that. It takes faith. It takes faith to go to the bank and cash a check.

You got a paycheck. There's no intrinsic value in that piece of paper. But you're believing that the company who wrote that to you will keep their promise, and the bank will respect that promise and give you cash for it. It takes faith to do that. Even the atheist has some modicum of faith. It's faith that is reasonable faith. To go to a doctor takes faith.

You never saw him go to school. She uses big words, so she must know what she's talking about. So? You can go on the internet and get big words. But it says MD.

Well, you hope it doesn't mean mentally deficient, that it means medical doctor. But you are entrusting your life to somebody that you don't intimately personally know. There's nothing objective to it. But it is reason because you did ask people, and their testimony and his or her qualifications as seen in other procedures, it's enough for you. You believe it. Well, there's some objective things about Christianity that if you evaluate, it makes sense.

It's reasonable. And I don't have time to go into it. We'd spend months on that. But just the uniqueness of the Bible. The Bible is 66 books written by over 40 authors, written over 1,500 years about controversial subjects like the problem of man, the origin of the universe, the eternal nature of things.

All of these controversial subjects by all of these authors and yet they all agree with each other. Then there's prophecy. No other holy book has prophetic literature like the Bible. The Bible speaks about events, predicts events before they happen, names people's names before they were born, talks about kingdoms rising and falling before they existed. And then there's things like the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I've read the testimony of many unbelievers who wanted to overthrow Christianity, who took a hard look at the resurrection of Christ, Frank Morrison being one of them, an unbelieving British lawyer, and he gave his life to Christ as he examined the objective evidence.

Second thing about belief, it appreciates subjective testimony. These people down by the Jordan River knew John the Baptist. And John the Baptist said some things about Jesus and they said, you know what? What he said is right.

It's true. What things did John the Baptist say about Jesus? Well, he said this. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John the Baptist called Jesus the Son of God. John the Baptist said of Jesus, his sandal strap I am not worthy to unloose. And then he said he was preferred before me because he was or existed before me. Now John was older than Jesus and John the Baptist says he was before me. Just a reminder, you know that John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, right? That means they hung out together. They went to the feast together.

Every family reunion they were together. To me that adds a little bit of weight to John saying who Jesus was. How many of you would ever say of your cousin, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Here's John the Baptist who knew Jesus as a relative and made a testimony about him and these people said, yep. That subjective testimony turns out to be right.

Here's how I want to end this. Christianity is a universal experience. 2,000 years ago, that's a long time ago, Jesus walked this earth and changed people's lives and if Christianity was valid, you would expect people to have their lives changed. But since 2,000 years ago, up till the present moment, Jesus Christ is still changing lives.

I see the evidence all around of people who were one way and their lives get changed. But it is narrow. And Jesus said, enter the narrow gate. Not ponder the gate, not contemplate the gate, not argue about the gate, not have a class discussion on the gate. Once you're all past that, now it's time to enter the gate. Because at the end of the day, it's a personal relationship with a personal God with the persons that he made.

That's what he wants. So will you heed the warning label? Unbelief is hazardous to your eternal health. Boy, it's nice to know that our God will provide all the strength and grace we need to shine his light in a very dark world. And even more than that, it's exciting to know that by shining his light in this world, we can help change lives for all eternity. And that all starts with a simple act of belief. We'll resume this series, Believe 879, next time.

But right now, let's go in studio for a final thought from Skip and Lenya. Today you touched on a really interesting, maybe even a painful topic for a lot of people, and that is doubt. And sometimes I think we're even fearful to say we have doubts, you know, in our faith or doubts about things.

And sometimes that happens in seasons of hopelessness. You know, doubt kind of trickles in. I know I heard once that faith and fear are like opposites. You know, if you're really walking in fear, you can't be walking in faith and vice versa.

And I think doubt's one of those things that leads us to that place. Do you have some special encouragement or something that would bless those that are struggling in their faith? I think the first thing that comes to my mind is to assure our listeners that faith has seasons to it. You know, when you first came to Christ, remember how fresh that was? It was like spring, and everything's growing, and everything's new, and the buds are coming out.

And then you go into summer, where you kind of have that whole growth thing happening over time, even the heat of temptation, and then fall, and then winter. I think that there's seasons to our walk that aren't the same as every other season, and our faith matures. So we think about things differently, and doubts are okay. Unbelief is not doubt.

It's different. Unbelief involves the will. Doubt, a person is struggling with things. And I think that to know that there are seasons, and to then, when we have doubts, decide where can I get answers for these. You know, I remember when I was in my faith, and I went through a spring and then a summer, so to speak, but there was that fall time. I was going to college, and all my professors were agnostic or atheistic. And they asked me questions I could not answer. And I came to a very critical point in my walk where I was going to walk away. And I decided to read a couple books and get some answers, and it was so refreshing, because I found that unbelievers have good questions, and believers can have great answers that settle matters that make one's faith more solid than before the inquiry.

And so I would address them. I wouldn't run away from them going, ah, it's just a season of doubt. I'd find out what you're doubting and get solid answers for it, because it's equipment that will help you help other people in the future. Yeah, and sometimes doubts, as you come around the other corner, you're right, it puts our roots deeper. And I think I heard someone say once that never give up what you believe for what you don't understand. There's enough of, you know, things that we do know.

Never give up what you do know because of what you don't know. There you go. Well, thanks, guys. And if you'd like a copy of today's message, you can find it at connectwithskip.com, or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888.

Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. While Jesus did have the ability to heal, he also knew that death sometimes has an important role to play in life. Join us next time to find out more here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection Make a connection at the foot Of the crossing Cast your burdens on his word Make a connection A connection A connection Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-12 06:12:06 / 2023-11-12 06:21:30 / 9

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