You know, something we hear all the time is that Christianity is so narrow-minded. I mean, how can you say that there's only one God?
I mean, as long as a person is sincere in their belief, does it really matter? Well, today I want to tell you it really does, and I'll tell you why. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Drouie, and the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. We're nearing the end of our series, Why I Believe, and for these last two programs, Chip's going to challenge us to really think about God in a different way that will not only deepen our adoration of it, but reinforce our trust in everything he says and does. But before we begin, if you've been encouraged by this series, would you take a minute after this message and share it with a friend?
You can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Okay, here now is Chip with his talk, Why I Believe in the God of the Bible. I was recently walking through the hallways of our church in between services, and I mean, it was chaotic. You know, one service was coming in, another was leaving, and people had their kids, and the place was super crowded. And I was walking, I saw an Asian couple that were just kind of standing there, and I couldn't tell whether they were lost or needed help with their child. We're a multicultural church, so lots of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and so I just was prompted. I said, excuse me, could I help you all?
Everything okay? And they said, yeah, actually you can. And then it went from not their child being in a class to, he said, you know, my wife and I have been coming for several months, and we're exploring Christianity. And the place has been very warm here. Our children, the impact on our kids is really good. And my wife actually, after the first few months, she put her faith in Christ. And we were just sitting here talking because we're on our way back to Asia, and we're going to visit our families. And we come from a multi, multi generation of Buddhists. And we want to thank you. We feel like the teaching has been clear. We feel like it's been intellectually grounded, that we had no idea about the history of Christianity and the reasons to believe. And I'm on the verge of making that commitment.
But he said, the price will be very, very high. Because when we tell our relatives that we are trusting in Christ, we're telling them that they are wrong and past generations are wrong. And I don't know about you, but there's probably not anything more unpopular, but more important than asking and answering the question, is it intellectually feasible that there is only one true God, and that God is the God of the Bible? You know, we've talked about a lot of reasons why I believe, and we've talked about thinking through faith issues, but this is at the core.
And this is our final time together. So I want you to really lean back and more than just take in information, ask yourself, do I really believe? And I want you to know that I always know there's a mixed group of people, and whether it's small groups or big groups, I want to give you a chance before we end our time, that if you have never placed your faith in Christ, you'll have that opportunity. But I want you to know why I believe. There's 320 million gods in the world today.
There's 22 major religions, each with a half million followers or more. So the question you've got to ask is, why do you think the God of the Bible is the one true God? Now, just so we are unequivocal, God makes no bones about this.
He writes through the prophet Isaiah, this is what the Lord says, Israel's king and redeemer, the Lord almighty. I am the first and I am the last. Apart from me, there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay it out before me. God is very, very clear with Israel, and as we'll learn, Jesus is very, very clear that there is a narrow road and that he is the way, he is the truth, he is the life, and no one comes to the Father except by him. Now before we jump into this, there's a couple big word presuppositions that I need to talk to you about. Presupposition is an unconscious set of thoughts or values that are so a part of the culture and so a part of your life that you don't even know you believe them, but you just believe them. But like the foundation of the house that's underground, everything is upon it, so we have presuppositions, especially about religious things and in our culture today. And I think there's two presuppositions I want to talk about, get really clear on, and then I will walk through very systematically the reasons why I personally believe that the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one true God. Reason number one is that aren't all religions essentially the same? The answer is no. Now if you kind of listen to pop psychology or I was recently on a plane with a fellow from another country and he lives in the Bay Area and we got into discussion about religion and relationship with God and he basically said, well, you know, I know all religions are basically the same, you know, like God is on the top of the mountain and there's many paths and people go up different paths and they give him many names.
And so this is very, very common, very, very common. What I can tell you since I studied this, if I got a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Mormon, someone from Islam, someone from Judaism, believe me, if I got the top seven or eight religions and got these guys in a room and say, okay, now, line out what you actually believe, do they conflict at all? Well, the Eastern religions are all impersonal. God's not even a person. Specific other religions are dramatic.
They would start arguing. What I can tell you is you can choose to believe what you want to believe but one of the options is not. All religions are basically the same, possibly with the exception of Baha'i. Baha'i is a sort of interesting religion. I remember sitting actually next to a lady who was Baha'i and I asked her what she believed and she said everything.
Well, that conversation went in amazing ways. But here's what I want you to know. It's very clear that there's distinctions between religions in terms of who God is, what it means to have a relationship with him, what it requires to have a relationship with him and what each of the different religions teach. The second presupposition is does it really matter what a person believes as long as he or she is sincere and practices those beliefs?
These are so common. The fellow that I was talking to on the plane, our discussion first was, well, they're basically the same and then he said, oh, you're probably right. You know, Buddhists are really different than this and that group is really different but he said, you know, as long as they're sincere.
I mean, this is in the water system. This is what people unconsciously believe and what I want to tell you is that the answer is no. You can be very, very sincere but you can be very sincerely wrong.
In fact, think about this. Imagine, if you will, your child is very sick and you go to the doctor and he writes a prescription and it's a little bit hard to read and the pharmacist sincerely fills it out and he sincerely believes this is the prescription and gives your child something different and your child dies. Being sincere isn't good enough or in our relationships, no one buys that. Imagine your mate falls in love with someone else and says, I'm very sincere. I used to love you. Now I love them.
Is that okay? Or current example, I will guarantee those in ISIS are absolutely sincere. They actually believe in their Quran and the radical version that you are an enemy and you're an infidel and they are sincerely killing people thinking they're doing it for God. But think of this, even in all the world religions, you know who one of the great heroes is? It's Jesus. They don't believe he's the son of God but Jesus, he's the ideal man. He's the most loving.
He cares for the poor, the marginalized. We all want to be like Jesus. Would you like to hear what the most loving person who's ever walked the earth says? This is the loving Jesus. 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 that leads to life and only a few find it. Jesus is, not was, is the most loving person in the world and what he says is it's not about sincerity, it's about accuracy. Now we need to be sincere in our love for Christ. Now here's what I want to do and some of this will be review but I want to pretty quickly go through these are the reasons why I'm not throwing my brain in the trash but that I absolutely believe the God of the Bible is the one true God. Reason number one, the historical evidence. Christianity is subject to objective verification. It happened in a crucial place, crucial time, real people, real events in space time history.
I can verify that. We've already talked about the actual historical events from archeology, the trustworthiness of the manuscripts of the Bible, the evidence from extra biblical sources. So it's not just what the Bible says about Jesus, it's what even historians have said and then the eyewitness accounts.
I mean in any court of law, I've been on a number of juries, I don't know how that works but I end up on juries and I mean when you have two or three eyewitnesses, it's a slam dunk. There's 500 eyewitnesses and it didn't happen out there somewhere, it happened where it could be verified right in Jerusalem. The second reason that I believe God of the Bible is the one true God is the prophetic evidence.
Predictions of specific future events with 100% accuracy confirm the authenticity. I call it the Isaiah principle. Follow along as I read this passage from Isaiah chapter 44 verses 24 to 28. This is what the Lord says your Redeemer who formed you in the womb. I am the Lord the maker of all things who stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem it shall be inhabited of the towns of Judah that they shall be rebuilt and all of their ruins.
I will restore them who says to the watery deep be dry and I will dry up your streams. Who says to Cyrus he is my shepherd and I will accomplish all that I please. He will say of Jerusalem let it be rebuilt and of the temple let its foundations be laid. God is authoritatively saying I am the Lord God Almighty and he makes prophecies that are very, very specific that are undeniable and that aren't vague.
Now this is one that I wanted you to get. I spend a lot of time in one of the other messages talking about prophecy and the fulfillment of all the prophecies of Jesus. But this is 150 years before Cyrus was born and Isaiah is getting a clear prophecy from God telling what's going to happen. 150 years Cyrus the Great is born and if you go into this passage very specifically all the specific things that God says this person will do is accomplished and he names them by name.
And in Jewish prophetic literature it's quite different than today. Often people make lots of predictions you know like some are right, some are wrong. Here's the way it worked with God. A real prophet is right 100% of the time or he's not one of God's prophet.
And if you claim to be and you're wrong it's the capital offense. So what I want you to know is that my faith is in a God who's sovereign who knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. The third reason I believe in the God of the Bible is what I just call the philosophical evidence. The triune nature of God and the testimony of scripture best answers life's most timeless and difficult questions.
Now we could spend years on this one and this is an area that was really a part of my coming to know Christ and really believing what's true. It's a bit on the metaphysical and the philosophical side but let me just highlight three things that the God of the Bible answers that other religions don't. Number one the problem of unity and diversity. If you look at Egyptian gods, if you look at Hindu gods, if you look at the Western gods of the Greeks and the Romans they solve the problem of individual gods, diversity. If you look at the Eastern gods of Buddhism or reincarnation what you find is the Easterns they solve unity.
We're all one, one drop going back into the ocean. The challenge is the individual gods competed with one another, the gods of unity are impersonal and only the triunity of the one God, three persons and one essence really answers the question of how can there be both unity and diversity in the world. Second is the problem of evil and justice.
Every religion has this problem. How do you account for the evil and the suffering and the injustice in the world? Many religions have a God that has a good side and a bad side or there's two gods or you know the force right you know the dark side of the force. It's interesting biblical Christianity answers this I think in the most compelling way. God is a good God who is perfect who's made a perfect world. He gives humankind mankind freedom and the world that we live in is not the world that he desired. It is our sin that separates and brings what was called the fall and now we have a good God who is sovereign who gave us freedom to accept or reject him and that the evil in the world is a temporary evil that he will actually come and die in our place to pay for our sin and then make all things right. So evil and suffering has a very clear source and beginning and there is a good God who gives us the freedom but in essence is willing to love us so much to solve that very problem.
I think the third philosophical issue is I would just call it the enigma of man. I mean think about this mankind is noble, creative. I mean our technology we put a man on the moon we have a cell phone for everybody in the world we we medicine heart transplants heart lung transplants mankind is brilliant amazing creative art music and yet on the other side the enigma is cruelty hate jealousy prejudice Hitler Stalin the Holocaust I mean it's it's hard to imagine how the human species could be so beautiful so wonderful so noble so made in the image of God and yet so cruel the history of mankind is war after war after war after war unmentionable cruelty and pain and the marginalizing of people that look different or a different color hatred and starvation how can that happen the Bible would say man is made in the image of God and so he's noble but he's a fallen sinful creature and he needs to be redeemed. The fourth reason that I believe in the God of the Bible is I'll just call it the evidence of impact.
You know every religion has impact you can go to different countries and you can know sort of what their religion has been and you can kind of look around and say wow this is what is produced after hundreds of years I've spent some time in India a lot of time in China time in the Middle East I don't know anyone that travels in India for business that it's it's heartbreaking I mean so much of India despite the the technology and the growth in some areas is the same that has been you see there's a caste system formal or informal and people are getting what they deserve so I shouldn't help that person because you know that's karma they're just getting what they deserve and there is poverty everywhere they're fearful of their ancestors limited education except for missionaries came and begin to do the teaching and create the hospitals that were Christians see the impact of Christianity when you begin to study what happened as a result of the teaching of Jesus and actually the laws of the Old Testament the nation of Israel from one nomad I mean Abraham you know he's running around on a camel somewhere and God chooses him and from that he develops this nation Abraham and then Moses the laws of Israel I mean we don't think about all those ceremonial laws guess what they didn't know about germs the circumcision on the eighth day they didn't know that's when the blood clots I mean you think of the laws of hygiene you think of the economic laws here is a religion that says this is what we're gonna do for the poor every seven years we're gonna reset the dial every 50 years economically we're gonna reduce things back to the way it was so you don't have this super rich and everyone else is poor I mean what the Bible has done and what God has done the mustard seed conspiracy this tiny little group of people following Jesus that gets birthed that changes the world the liberation of women the liberation of slaves the basis of our jurisprudence economic impact the care for the poor Wilberforce you know he stood on scripture in England and stopped it took decades and stop the horrendous slavery that was happening when you find and do research you find that Christians have been in key areas that have changed the course of history you've been listening to part one of chips message why I believe in the God of the Bible he'll be right back with his application for this teaching let me ask you how confidently can you answer questions about God in the Bible are you pretty sure of yourself or do you feel unprepared wishing you would have paid a little more attention in Sunday school through this six-part series chip will help you better understand the bedrock concepts of the Christian faith and how you can communicate that truth in engaging ways to others now if you want to learn more let me encourage you to check out chips book why I believe or the small group resources these are the perfect tools to help you go deeper for complete details go to Living on the Edge org the chip Ingram app or call triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 well chips with me in studio now and chip at the end of your message today you mentioned that you've spent a lot of time abroad so I was just wondering if you could take a minute and share what this ministry is doing all over the world and how people can be a part of that work I'd be glad to Dave let me ask you a question have you ever helped a believer in China or Singapore or maybe Indonesia really grow in their faith or dealt with some of their problems or maybe have you sat across the table from a pastor in Egypt or the Middle East and said let me give you some resources to help you in your church well if you're a supporter of Living on the Edge you've actually done that so much of what we do is not only here in America but God has opened unbelievable doors across the world and as you support Living on the Edge financially and as you pray for us you are actually a part of ministering to those people in fact that's what the Bible says because we are a body and what I want you to know is that as that continues to expand one of our greatest needs is from monthly partners it's great to have people give and we're so grateful but it's the monthly partners that we can know that this amount of money is going to come in each month allows us to plan and strategize because the needs here and around the world are expanding like never before if you would like to become a monthly partner could I encourage you pray ask God what he would have you do and whether it's a small amount a big amount you just do what God asked you to do and as you give monthly I want you to know we're going to help fulfill the Great Commission together thanks so much for whatever lead you to do. Thanks Chip well as you've heard God has called this ministry to help Christians really live like Christians both here in the US and all around the world so if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission we'd love to have you join the team by becoming a monthly partner set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or via the Chip Ingram app or you can now text the word donate to 74141 that's donate to 74141 and thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do well with that Chip let's get to that application you promised. As we close today's program I went through what I'd call four reasons that I have personally come to of why I believe in the God of the Bible the historical the prophetic the philosophical and then the impact and I really want to encourage you as we think through this together and as we learn how to articulate this to people in our culture that somehow think that if you disagree with them that you're narrow or bigoted the fact of the matter is is that there are some really sound reasons that are verifiable about why we believe in the God of the Bible and so don't miss next broadcast but here's the thing for today in reality every religion or truth claim thinks their way is the only way so the fact the matter is is Christianity is not alone the real issue is what is really true and so let me just ask you in light of your study or lack of it of other religions or Christianity in general or even your family of origin and where you come from what choices have you made and what do you believe honestly about the God of the Bible here's what I can tell you and why this series is so important it is going to be more and more challenging and the cost of being a follower of Jesus is getting higher and higher and so as a follower of Jesus it's going to be important for you to know what you believe and why and then be able to articulate that in a kind and winsome way and I want to speak to some of you that you might even call yourself a skeptic and the farthest thing from a follower of Christ but as I was speaking you said to yourself almost reluctantly I should check this out I want you to know there is a God who loves you and who's for you and wants to reveal himself to you and can I encourage you to give us a call or email us and the book why I believe it's my personal journey I've done the research and I would love to share that with you. Thanks Chip. Well to order your copy of why I believe go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. Chip's motivation for this resource is to reveal the concrete facts that Christianity is built on and how you can take that proof and winsomely defend your faith now during this series we've discounted Chip's book so order yours today for complete details go to livingontheedge.org or give us a call at 888-333-6003. App listeners tap special offers. Well join us next time as Chip wraps up this series but until then this is Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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