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Trueish - Week 3

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Hello today to all of our LifeChurch campuses, welcome to all of our network churches, we are honored to partner with you guys and all over the world on the internet campus, Thank you for being part of week number three of True(ish). Next week I will finish this series with the True(ish) beliefs that most apply to your daily life. Today we will look at the True(ish) beliefs that apply to your eternal life. We will start with scripture in the book of Acts, Acts Chapter 16; we will start numbers 29, the context: Paul and Silas were in prison at midnight, they decided to have a worship service. They were singing hymns to God and God sent an earthquake that miraculously broke open the prison doors, the chains were released from all the prisoners' hands, the jailer freaked out realizing that if the prisoners escaped he would be put to death. He thought about suicide, instead he had this conversation with Paul and Silas, verse 29, Acts 16; the jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. Verse 30; He then brought them out and asked them one of the most important question that you can ever ask. All of our campuses, what did he ask? He wanted to know, "What must I do to be saved?", and the answer is it depends on who you ask. Right? I mean you can ask a lot of different people and hear a lot of different answers to the question today, what must I do to be saved? You can ask the Pope one thing and hear something, you can ask the Dalai Lama and hear something else, you could ask Madonna and hear totally different things, you can ask Billy Graham, "What must I do to be saved?" You can hear a lot of different opinions because there are a ton of different beliefs. For example, when I used to commute to seminary we had about an hour and a half drive one way to get to our classes, and so we would carpool with big groups of people and there was this one lady, who I liked a lot, but we never agreed about anything. She was a Unitarian and so we disagreed about all sorts of different things and we would kind of fight for fun. She would always tell me that in an enlightened state the spirits showed her that she was going to be reincarnated as a tree in France. And so, she wanted to know when I was reincarnated what I was going to come back as and I tried to explain to her that I don't believe in reincarnation but she said "just pretend like you do. If you were reincarnated what would you come back as". I said "let me get this straight, you are going to come back as a tree in France". She said "Yes" and I said "well then I'm going to come back as a dog in France and I am going to find your tree". And so, you can see why she didn't like me. There's, you know, all sorts of different beliefs. Now, in this series we have been talking about a common philosophy thought process, belief system, called relativism. What is relativism? It is the assumption today that there is no such thing as absolute truth. And because people today don't necessarily embrace absolute truth, when it comes to religion and when it comes to eternal issues here is what you are often going to hear today. "It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere and what is true for me may not be true for you. Whatever you do, do not push your beliefs on me, especially those Christian beliefs, because that whole deal about hell I just can't buy in to. I mean, I just personally don't believe how a loving God could send people to hell that just doesn't make sense with me, that just doesn't feel right to me. Besides, the whole Christian thing where you are sitting there telling me that Jesus is the only way, if you really believe that, you must be one of the most uneducated, bigoted, narrow-minded people who ever lived on planet Earth. Because it couldn't be the only way. I mean, the whole Jesus thing, you know, there has got to be many ways to God. You know all paths, even Oprah said, all different paths, if you are seeking God; they have got to lead to God. You do your thing, I'll do mine and we'll all see if we get to the same place." Everything that I have said is absolutely and completely true(ish). It sounds true, doesn't it? I mean, in this pluralistic world it just seems fair that if you're trying and you're sincere and whatever you believe is probably okay. That just sounds to be fair, it just feels kind of right and that it's truthfully what many people believe. What I am going to do is show you three sets of statistics for my country, for America. Now, for those of you on the internet, in most of your countries your stats would be much higher, but I will just share with you from my country, three stats. If you are taking notes, the first one is this; 53%, over one-half, of Americans believe that if a person is generally good he will go to Heaven. If you are a generally good person, if you try pretty hard, you're not real bad, you're not an axe murder and funky music doesn't play, ju-ju-ju, you know when you come in; you will probably go to Heaven. Next stat, 43% of born again Christians, 43% say it doesn't matter what religiously faith you follow because all faiths teach similar lessons about life. Almost half the people our country, whatever, you know, what you're deal is they're all pretty similar so it doesn't really matter. 57% of evangelical church members said that they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 57%, many roads will lead to the same place. So, what I want to try to do today is work through kind of a systematic discussion and try to answer the question, "Are all world religions basically the same and mostly true?" I think it is a fair question for us to wrestle with and try to answer together, are all world religions basically the same and mostly true? Now, if you are new with us I will just go ahead and say it. I am a Christian, and so what I am going to do is I am going to talk about Jesus. And, I am not under any illusion that I am greatest apologist, that would mean the defender of the Christian faith and I don't think in the next 20 minutes that I can present a logical argument that is going to convince you of anything. There is a lot of people brighter than I am; if someone else could do it they probably would have done it a long time ago. What I am going to do though, is just simply ask you no matter how you've been raised and no matter what you think might be true, I'm going to ask you to see if we can agree on three basic principles and build a foundation for our journey and our discussion. And then, what I'm going to ask you to do is ask you just to take an objective look at Jesus. Just take a look at Jesus and you can kind of make up your own mind. So let's start by seeing if we can agree on three things as we try to answer the question, "are all world religions basically the same and mostly true"? First thought, if you are taking notes, I think that we can probably agree, number one that just because you're sincere doesn't make what you believe true. Now, admittedly this goes against what a lot of people think today. Because a lot of people say it doesn't what you believe as long as you're sincere you're okay. But, I think that if we look logically we can agree, just because you're sincere doesn't make what you believe true. And, I think I can settle the argument t by simply telling you to watch one show of the American Idol try outs. Now, I know, many of you in other countries you don't have the American Idol you may have something similar. But, just because you sincerely believe that you can sing, it does not make it true! I can barely watch the show. I mean, it bothers me, I'm wondering to myself "where are your friends?" Doesn't anybody love you? Is there not anybody, anywhere, in your life who says for the sake of God don't try out? You're horrible, I mean, Simon he's rude, but at least he tells the truth. I mean, huh. As long as I live, it's burned into the hard drive of my mind "I am your brother, you're"...I mean, it's like, huh, go home. Okay. Can we logically agree, all of our campuses you guys participate, can we agree that just because you're sincere what you believe does not necessarily mean it's true. Let's talk about a second thing. Number two, can we agree that there is truth in many world religions but all world religions can't be true. Let's unpack that. A lot of times people say well our religion is right and all the rest are idiot and demonic and satanic and cults and such. And, I'd say let's just look objectively and as we look at major world religions I'd think we'd have to agree that there are some similarities. There, there can be truth in many different world religions but they can't all be true. For example, most world religions teach that life is sacred. I think we can agree that's probably true. Most of them teach the layman's term is there's something more, the principle there's something more. There's probably something more after this life. If you look at major world religions there's consistencies often in morality, in the way to treat people, about sexual purity, I think if we look objectively we could say there is some beauty and some truth in major world religions. But, if you look at them at their foundation, I honestly don't know how you could ever say they all could be true and let me just show you why. Just kind of a high level view. Let's take Buddhism. Buddhist don't believe in a God and they don't believe in any type of final or eternal existence. Now when you contrast that with Hindus, the Hindus do believe in a god but their god is impersonal and can be approached through countless sub-deities, smaller gods and through statutes or through idols. Which is very, very different, Allah, the Muslim god, who is personal but has no secondary deities and has a total ban on all idols. If you take Buddhism and Hinduism, they would say we can't promise you forgiveness of sins, there's no supernatural help. All you've got to go on is karma. Then when you look at that and say there's Christianity that says there is the potential of forgiveness of sins through Christ, there is the potential of supernatural help and the God is a very personal God. So when you look at it and you say Buddhist believe there is no God and Jesus said he is God, there's some differences, major differences. I think we can probably agree, yes there's truth in all of them, but their so different at their roots, they can't all possibly be true. Could we agree with that second thought, if you can agree with that can you just raise your hands? I think there is a foundation of agreement. Number three, I think that you would agree that discovering and living truth matters more than anything else in life. Discovering and living truth, it matters more than anything else in life. Let me explain it this way; let's just talk about our temporary life and truth. For example, let's say that you're going to get on an airplane this week and you've got a pilot who has been trained by the best and he gets in and he looks at the cockpit and there's all of these buttons everywhere and he is thinking okay, I know that I have been instructed that this one does this and this one does this and I'm supposed to do this. But, I'm thinking today that all buttons are the same. I mean I know you tell me there's a difference but in my mind they're all equal. It doesn't matter which one you push and when, it just doesn't matter. And, there's a guy I'm supposed to listen to at the control tower and he's telling me I'm supposed to take off to the north, but you know what I'm not feeling north today, I'm feeling a little more southeast. Because I'm just, I don't believe in objective truth, and so I'm going to make it my own version. You're going to be nervous. Correct? Let's say you've got a ruptured appendix and you go to the doctor. The doctor says ruptured appendix you need to go see a surgeon and you go and see the surgeon and the surgeon says you're supposed to take the appendix out and the surgeon says "you know what, I did five appendectomies last week, I'm bored with appendectomies. I feeling liver transplant today. I'm just feeling... and you know there is a traditionally way, you normally come in this way but that's boring to me, I've got my, well we are just going to flip you over like a pancake, we're coming in the back today, just to be fun and creative". You're nervous, why? Because all of the sudden when you're thinking of your life on Earth, you're thinking there must be some objective truths that must be followed, if else it could cost you! We are talking about your life. Today, the subject that we're talking about is your eternity, your eternity. And, when you go through life different people are going to tell you different things. Don't you think that seeking truth for yourself? I'm not talking about, "well my Grandma said this, or my freshman World Religion teacher said this, or the guy at the 7-11 counter he said this or my horoscope said this, I kind of pick and choose", don't you think that if there is anything to get right it's this. Because you are going to die, and something is going to happen to you, and if you just kind of feel, I just kind of think and this is just kind of seems right", if you're wrong can you think of anything that would be important to get right than this. I've not been telling you what to believe as much as can we agree that getting this right probably matters a lot, can we agree? Okay, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to ask you, no matter what you think of Christianity, no matter how you've been raised, no matter what you believe. Let's just together take a look at Jesus. You're grown up and unless you sing horribly and you think you'd do well on American Idol, that's you you're not right. The rest of you, I assume you're intelligent and I'm going to ask you just to take, just to take a look at Jesus and we are going to look at four aspects of the life of Jesus. The first thing I would ask you to take an objective look at is this; number one, look at what Jesus taught, okay? You can hate Christianity, you can despise Christians because we're hypocritical and stuff, and admittedly we often are, but just take a look at what Jesus taught. And, if you take an objective look at what Jesus taught, you'll probably have to say no matter what you think about Christianity, about the Christian church you'd have to say what he taught, you would probably say is pretty beautiful. It's just; it's like the highest of the highest standard. I could have picked a bazillion verses, I just picked Luke 6:27-29. He's what Jesus taught: Love your enemies, its amazing right there, just that much. He said "do good to those who hate you"; I mean that's pretty amazing. "Bless those who curse you". I was at the gas station with all my kids and this guy, who didn't like something I said, just came out and just started cussing me out. "F" bombs, you're this, I ought to kick your, you know, and right now I'm thinking to myself "no, no, no I'm going to kick yours", because you know that's my thought and Jesus tells me to bless that man and to pray for those who mistreat me. That is beautiful, profound and otherworldly. Verse 29, "if someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other one to him also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic." I mean, if you'd just take a look at what he taught and no matter what you think about Christianity, you've got to admit if the world lived the way Jesus taught, this place would be much better. Just take a look, you owe it to yourself to pick a gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, you cannot like Christianity at all, pick a gospel and just read what Jesus taught. Second thing I would ask you to do is this; look at the miracles that Jesus performed. Mark 6:2: "With this wisdom that has been given to Jesus that he even does miracles". You may say I don't believe in miracles. Just take a look at them and ask yourself "could it have been that through the power of good Jesus did what scripture claimed?" Scripture claimed that Jesus opened blind eyes, healed deaf ears, caused the mute to speak. Scripture claims that he turned water into wine, that he healed the sick, that he multiplied loaves and fishes. Now it's interesting to me, as if you read the account of his detractors, his enemies the Pharisees, they never questioned the validity of his miracles. They just wanted him to stop. You never see a Pharisees who hated Jesus going "he didn't do that, he had something up his sleeve, it was a trick, it was magic". They never say that, what they said is just stop him, get him to stop, trap him! Even his enemies didn't debate the validity of his miracles; they just want him to stop. Look at it. Number three, I would ask you look at the resurrection. If you don't know much about Christianity, this is a pretty big part of Christianity, but the Bible claims that Jesus was God in the flesh and became sin for us, shed his blood as covering, a sacrifice for our sins, died and the bible says that on the third day God raised him from the dead. This is what sets Christianity apart, one of two major things and you have to ask yourself "did this really happen?" Peter said this in Acts 3:15, what did Peter say? Peter claimed that God did what? That God raised Jesus from the dead and he said what? He said we're witnesses, we saw it, we were there. Now there are some arguments against the resurrection of Jesus and I think they're fair to walk through. Some people say the Roman soldiers stole the body of Jesus and they might have but you know when all the Christians were going "oh, he's back!" the Roman soldier would have said "gotcha! he's right back here in my closet, he's dead" and that probably would have broken down that argument rather quickly. Some though would say, well the disciples stole the body of Jesus. They so much wanted to fool everyone into believing that he was risen that they overpowered the UFC Roman soldier guards and took the body and, you know, hid him in their refrigerator or whatever. And, at some point, you would have to think if that did happen the Roman soldiers would probably say "those guys they took him away". Or, at least, you'd have to think this that according to history we know that Judas killed himself after betraying Jesus, we know that John died of an old age; we know that the other disciples all died the death of the martyr. They came to the place that if someone said if you don't renounce Jesus we are going to cut your head off, or we are going to hang you upside down on the cross, or we are going to throw you to the lions, or whatever the case would be, and we know that they all were willing to die. At some point you have to ask yourself, if they didn't see the resurrected Christ. Thomas, I don't believe you unless I can touch you, he touched Jesus. If they didn't believe in the resurrection, do you think they would really be willing to die for him? At some point, I've got to step back and ask myself, do you really expect any rational thinking person to believe that 11 small town, average, uneducated men devised the most ingenious scheme, adopted the most daring plan, pulled it off, kept it a secret all so they could cheat the world into being a better place at tremendous personal cost even unto death! Just look at it yourself and ask yourself, could it be true. The fourth thing that I would ask you to do is just look at what Jesus claimed, look at what he claimed. John 14:6, here's what he claimed, you don't have to agree, you don't have to believe, but he claimed this, Jesus answered and said I am what? He said "I am the way", not one of many ways, but I'm the way. He said "I am the truth", not one of many truths, not part of truth, but I am the truth. I am what else? "I am the life" and he said "no one comes to the Father except" through what? "Through me". You don't have to agree but have to admit that that is a very exclusive claim from Jesus. I am the Father of one, you only get to him through me, there is no other way. Mohammad didn't make this claim, Buddha didn't make this claim, Confucius didn't make this claim, Jesus made this claim. And those claims, you look at what he taught, you look at the miracles, you look at the resurrection, you look at what he claimed. If you look at that, we're left with basically three options. Take a look at Jesus, who do you say he is. It boils down to really; McDowell coined these phrases, these options. You can say number one, "he's a liar" and you can say that, that could be fair. He was a good liar, he fooled all the disciples into leaving their homes or family, you know toss all that in follow me. If you say that though what you cannot do is you can't say he was a great moral teacher and see that's what a lot of people try to do today. Well, I just don't he believe he's the son of God but he's a great moral teacher, you cannot say that because if he was a great moralist and he was lying about who he was, then he wasn't a great moralist. So don't try to do that. If you are going to say he wasn't God, just call him a liar, that's what you have to do because that is what he was, if he wasn't the son of God then he was a liar. He's a liar. Now, the challenge for me is I'm thinking to myself "if I'm lying at some point I'm probably going to cave in". Like I'm pulling off this elaborate scheme, it has gone well for two and a half years, almost three years and then they are starting to whip me on my back with that whip and those little glass and about probably somewhere around number 37 or 38 on my back when my internal organs are starting to hang out I'd probably say something like "I was just kidding, my bad, this is just a joke". You know, if it wasn't then it might have been when they were beating me in my face with their big rings on and beat me until I was so bloody and disfigured that I wasn't even recognizable as a human. If I survived that though I can guarantee you it was when the stakes, the nails, when they put that up to my, right here, I would be like "sorry dude I was a carpenter, I was bored, I just thought this would be fun, no harm, I want to go home". If I was a liar I would have caved. I've got a second option and that's he was a fanatic lunatic, he was crazy. He was a certified lunatic and he could have been, there's crazy people in the world today, I've met them, some of them are you. You know, there is a little story about this lunatic asylum that had this big fence to keep the right people inside and the wrong people outside so nobody got hurt. There was a hole in the fence, a little hole about this big, and some guys were walking around on the outside and they heard these voices chanting from the inside, 13, 13, 13, 13 and thought what in the world was that? So they looked down in the hole and when they did they got poked in the eye with a pencil, "ahhh" and they heard this 14, 14, 14. I thought it was funny; it was funny when I told myself the joke. He's crazy, you know he was a Hitler, he's a David Koresh, he's a Jim Jones, he's a Marshall Applewhite, we are going to get a space ship and fly away to the, you know. He was a liar, he was a lunatic or number three, he was who he said he was and that is he is the Lord God. There's your options and you can do whatever you need to do with that. You can write him off as a bold faced liar. You can spit at him as a crazy lunatic or you can get down on your face and bow at his feet and call him Lord. One time Jesus was with his disciples and they were arguing back and forth. Some people they say Jesus, you're this guy, others say you're this guy, some say you're a liar, some say you're one of the prophets and Jesus cut through it all, looked at Peter and said, "Peter, okay I don't care what they say, what I want to know is what do you say". "Who do you say that I am?" And that's the question that I would like to respectfully ask you today. Who do you say that he is? Many of you in our campuses, you know you might have been raised kind of going to church, you have always been kind of friendly toward God and you're going to say "yea, Jesus is my Lord and Savior". What I am not asking is what do you say with your lips, what I'm saying is what is your life saying. Who do you say that he is by the way you live? Because I am absolutely and completely convinced, and this keeps me awake at night, that many of you are false believers. You're cultural Christians. You say the Sunday school answer but your life does not say that you've been transformed by the power of God. I just, who do you say he is intellectually, who do you say he is with your mouth, who does your life say he is? Who do you say that he is? Let me tell you who is to me. He is the one who reached in to my dark and angry heart and replaced it with a new heart. He is the one who took my filthy life of sin and forgave me for more sin than you could ever imagine and by his supernatural power, enabled me to overcome tons of addictions and strongholds. He is the one that took an unfaithful, immoral guy and rebuilt me, renewed me to be becoming more of a man of God. He is the one who has filled me with the Holy Spirit of God that gives me access to the throne of God on high. He is the one that works in my life and through my life to make me a Godly husband to my wife, to serve her and to lay down my life for my kids and he is the one who has made me bold enough to stand before you and say, Seek Him! Seek Him! Seek Him! It doesn't matter what, pray, pray raw, if you're real prove yourself, if you can forgive do it, if you're not there what have I wasted? Seek Him! Seek Him. Seek Him. And I believe with everything in me that he will reveal himself to you and that you will say he is Lord God and you will surrender your will and your life to him now and if you don't there will be a day that you will because scripture says "one day every knee will bow and one day every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" and I just pray that as you look his way you will do it today and you will know the Christ who set me free. Who do you say that he is? I can't convince you a lot, I can't make a persuasive enough argument, but I believe the power of God can win you, change you and make you into who God wants you to be. All of our campuses in prayer today. "God, I pray that you could do what I am unable to do and that there would be those who would be open enough to ask who is this Jesus and God I pray that, that you would reveal him to the people that you love and they would find real life in your son Jesus." I am praying today all of our campuses, many of you are believers in Jesus, you are Christians, you are disciples of Christ and you have a lot of friends or family members, maybe your spouse, maybe your kids, maybe some siblings, maybe your parents, maybe someone that you work with, maybe a sorority sister, maybe someone in your science class, maybe someone at the gym, someone that you love that really believes there are many ways to God. All paths lead to God. Doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. And you are looking on going, man I know it sounds right but it's true(ish) and you want to pray for them today. You know somebody like that, that you really love and they're special to you and you want to pray for them today. Will you lift up your hands right now? All of our campuses, just almost every hand going up. He is what I want you to do right now, is you just right where you are just kind of in your mind or very quietly would you just speak their names before God right now and in your own words just ask God to reveal himself. When I pray I ask God to do whatever it takes. You might pray that bold prayer and I always ask God to give me a chance to show, not just to tell, but to show his love. You might pray that. And as you're praying, just tell God you believe that he can answer us. I know some of you right now there is no way, there is no way, there is no way. No, no, no there is a way, there is a way, just believe by faith, believe all things are possible with God. Right now at all of our campuses, as you continue praying without looking around, here's what brings me great hope, is that I recognize my own limitations and I know I don't have the power to change anybodies life. But I believe with everything in me that God is here and that God does and there are those of you that God has been working in your life long before this hour together today and that circumstances and situations have been moving and you're asking some real questions and today, by faith, you are ready to say something that you have never really said before and that is "Jesus I want you to be my Lord, I believe that's who you are". There are many of you, you were raised kind of around Christianity and most people say yeah, you are a good person but when you look at your life, you don't see the fruits of the spirit, you don't see the morals of the teaching of Christ, your life doesn't reflect Christ and I would say ask yourself sincerely, just because you said something, just because you prayed a little prayer, have you truly been transformed by Christ. Have you truly surrendered to him? There are others of you, you look like you are way, way far from God and the good news is you're really not, because in a moment, as you call out on his name, he is going to hear your prayer, he is going to forgive you, you are going to shock the world because there are people around you who are going to go I had no idea that person could ever come to God. In the back of your mind you are going to think well if I do this, you know, what if I mess up they are going to call me hypocrite. Just tell those voices to shut up and today you just call on the name of Jesus and say I believe you are who you say you are, forgive me. And let me tell you what, the burden of all of your guilt is going to be removed. You are going to become, as scripture says, a brand new person and you can sense it, it's your time, it's your moment. The rest of your life is going to be different because of this moment. You are calling on the name of Christ, not because of what I've said but because of who he is, because of what God is doing in your life and you believe that you are ready. From this moment on, it's no longer my life, I become yours, Jesus transform me, Savior and Lord. That's all your prayer. All of our campuses lift your hands high now, high, lift them up and leave them up, I just want to meet you eye-to-eye, that's your prayer. Right back over here on this side and right over here as well, I want to meet you eye-to-eye, I want to see you, right back over here sir, God bless you, and sir right here, transform him. Others of you who'd say that's my prayer. Sir, right here in the middle section, God bless you my friend. Others of you take my life. Mam, right back here, others of you, yes Jesus, I step across the line of faith today. Right back over here, sir, yes, others of you. Savior and Lord, way back here toward the back, right back here on this side, God bless you as well. Others of you, take over, I surrender. Would you pray with those around you, just everybody aloud, together, pray, "Heavenly Father, take all of my life, I am a sinner, save me, I believe Jesus is the son of God who died for me and rose again so I could live for you. Fill me with your spirit, make me brand new. Thank you for new life, now mine belongs to you. From this point forward I am a follower of Jesus. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus name I pray". LifeChurch would explode in worship, thanking a good God who makes us new.

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Duration: 34 minutes and 57 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jul 7, 2010

Trueish

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