In this series, we are exploring many topics concerning doubt in God or Christianity. Pastor Miles brings answers to the church through this message series, explaining what to do with our doubts and how we can learn to trust God. This week, we examine how Christianity can stand alone among all world religions.
Doubt [diakrino] = to separate, distinguish, judge or evaluate. A process of evaluating and judging competing ideas, convictions, ambitions, and commitments.
There are 4,200 faiths in the world. Religion is defined as a system of beliefs in which a person tries to live in harmony with the powers they believe control their world. A cult is a false religion led by a person who claims to have sole access to information, is usually based on deviant beliefs of the Bible, and aims to control people’s minds, money, and/or time while removing their freedom. The occult claims to have hidden information, which will give people access to supernatural powers. (Seeking power or wisdom from things like horoscopes, ouija boards, or fortune tellers is participating in the occult.) Atheism is the belief that God does not exist, but usually places faith in science or self.
Society says all faiths lead to the same place, but how can that be possible when one road says, “love your neighbor” and another says, “kill your neighbor”? One faith claims that when you die, you will come back again and again until eventually you are in a place where there is no suffering, and another says you will die once and face God. These faiths can’t all be coming from the same place or the same God, because they have conflicting messages.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Romans 1:18-19
Every one of us is a person of faith; we all have faith in something. If you’ve ever fallen in love, then giving your heart to another and trusting that person is an act of faith. You would not go to the top of a high-rise building and jump because you have faith that gravity (which you have never seen) will take you to the ground.
Romans 1:19 says that the things of God may be known to you because they are in you. He made you that way! You have the ability to seek Him, desire Him, ask questions of Him, be interested in Him, sense His presence, have relationship with Him, and even resist Him.
You are in a story and it is important to seek the truth in your story! The Bible teaches that you will die once and face God. If that is true, you’ll have quite a surprise if you believe that you’ll be reincarnated and can wait till the next life to get it right. If you believe you can earn your way to eternal life by going on pilgrimages, going door to door, or making sacrifices, you’ll miss the mark if God's word is true that you can never earn your salvation - it must be given by grace through faith.
Pastor Miles shared three reasons to believe in Christianity:
The Father’s story leads us into an eternally loving relationship. Acts 8:26-31
God’s message to us is uncomplicated. You are in a story; you were born, your story is happening now, you’ll eventually die, and the rest of your story will continue with or without Him.
God created a story for you in which you will sometime come to a point where you desire to know Him, you give your life to Him, and you live in a loving relationship with Him. No other religion, cult, or occult can offer you that. They can only offer a system of leaders, rules, and regulations, but God only wants a relationship.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He made you to be encouraged and give encouragement, to give and receive love and attention, and that’s what He wants for you - no secret powers, secret societies, or secret information. There’s nothing we can do to prove ourselves to God or earn or lose His love. God simply wants our hearts.
The Son of God exclusively gave His life as a ransom for that relationship. Acts 8:32-35
We are all sinners whose sin separates us from God. But Jesus’ purpose in coming was to give His life for our sake.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
God wants so much to have a relationship with you that He sent His Son to become a person and lay down His life to overcome your sin. No other faith, cult, or occult can offer that kind of love. You can’t buy salvation, earn your salvation, or ever have or be enough to save yourself. Other religions can offer you rules, regulations, secret codes, or secret covenants. Jesus came and taught, walked, and died publicly, rose from the dead, and sends His Spirit openly to affirm truth for you to clearly see.
The Spirit of God nurtures our God relationship. Acts 8:36-40
Though none of us can actually see the wind, we are convinced that it exists because we can see the leaves moving on the trees. Likewise, even though we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we can see what He does. When Jesus left the disciples, He said to them:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” John 15:26
The Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and encourages us to believe in and trust Jesus because He loves us. No other faith has a God with a plan to have a relationship with you, who sent His Son to die for you, or who sends the Spirit to speak to you to affirm the truth.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
When the Holy Spirit speaks, He never contradicts God’s Word, but affirms it.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3
God created you to have relationship with Him and He desires that relationship. Our sin separates us from God and a relationship with us, but God sent His Son to die for our sin and restore us to relationship with Him. Jesus rose from the dead, conquered sin and death, and ascended into heaven so that if we simply confess, ask for forgiveness, and believe in Jesus, we will be saved.
If you’ve been pursuing religious practices but your relationship with God is dry, it’s time to reignite the flame. Speak to Him and begin to follow Him in relationship!